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&c. &c. 

" little did my mither ken, 
The day she cradled me, 
The lands I was to travel in — 
Or the death I was to dee! " 

Old Ballad. 



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" A creature not too bright and good 
For human nature's daily food. 
For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears and smiles." 


" A creature circled by a spell 

Within which nothing wrong can dwell ; 

And fresh and clear, as from the source. 

Holding through life her limpid course. 

Like Arethusa through the sea, 

Stealing in fountain purity." 


TT was soon finally arranged that the 

Glencairns and Cravens should become 

the joint tenants of the Villa Serboni for 

B 2 


the three Autumn months, after which, if 
the harmony of the party remained as per- 
fect as they hoped and anticipated, they 
would continue together in a tour through 
the rest of Italy, moving southward as the 
weather grew colder, and spending the 
greater part of January on the Bay of 

Meanwhile, during the time that these 
plans were being held in discussion and 
approved of and finally settled, Miss Kate 
Craven was forming a little supplementary 
scheme of her own in connection with the 
main idea. She had not again let the waves 
of the world wash in between her and her 
early friend Zora Brown. Kate was a 
great deal engaged in society at home and 
abroad ; but she spared leisure hours to go 
and see Zora, and partake of the modest 
hospitality of cups of tea in the little " sky- 


parlour," whicli in Summer was not an un- 
pleasant abode, when you got your breath 
back after the ascent of the stair — and to 
return this hospitality in the shape of many 
luncheons, occasional dinners, and now and 
then a spare seat in a box at the theatre. 

She also persuaded her mother to put 
an advertisement in the leading papers, 
wherein Zora figured as — 

"A Young Lady, Highly Eecommended 
as Nursery Governess or Companion." 

However, this kind effort led to no satis- 
factory results. The multitude of young 
ladies desirous of similar situations crowd 
the lottery with blanks, Zora tried her luck, 
and failed, as hundreds of other girls, 
higher-born and better educated than she, 
try and fail every day. The advertisement 

met with but few answers, and none of 
them proved satisfactory. 


One mother of ten children offered Zora 
something less than a housemaid's wages to 
take the entire charge and responsibility of 
the wardrobe and education of the young- 
est eight olive-branches, and objected be- 
cause Italian and the rudiments of German 
were not among her acquirements. An 
aged and invalid couple of between eighty 
and ninety were willing to negotiate for 
her services as confidential attendant and 
useful companion ; but considered that a 
salary was unnecessary, as the shelter 
afforded by a refined and pious home would 
be an ample equivalent for such attentions 
as she would be required to render. No 
answers of a more promising kind than 
these repaid Mrs. Craven's trouble ; and no 
doubt these answers found the terms they 
offered gratefully accepted elsewhere. They 


might probably liave been accepted by Zora 
had she been a very little more in want, and 
had her friends not sanguinely cheered her 
with anticipation of ''better luck next 
time !" 

The question of what to do with our 
surplus female population suggested itself 
frequently and forcibly to Mrs. Craven and 
Kate during the course of their friendly 
endeavours in Zora's behalf. 

*' The only thing / see for it," said Zora 
herself, frankly, with her quiet smile, "is 
to export us in ship-loads to lands where 
we are in demand, as it is evident that 
here the demand is inconveniently far ex- 
ceeded by the supply." 

''But we shan't sanction your being 
shipped off, I can tell you," said Kate. 
" Wait and see if we cannot hit on some- 
thing better for you before long !" 


The more Kate saw of Zora the more 
charming and pleasing companion she 
found her ; the old childish intimacy 
revived with double strength, and the plan 
which Kate was revolving in her mind was 
to coax her parents, who seldom refused 
her anything, to take Zora to winter 
abroad with them. Kate was a careless 
spoilt child, who hated trouble, and would 
neither mend a dress nor pack a portman- 
teau if she could get anybody else to do it 
for her; and Mrs. Craven had proposed to 
take a lady's-maid abroad with them this 
time. As Kate reflected, a maid would 
probably be a great deal more trouble, and 
not very much less expense than a friend. 
In fact the two alternatives of enofasfino^ as 
lady's-maid a stranger warranted to speak 
fluent Italian, at probably high wages, or 


of taking with them one of tlieir own 
servants who could speak no language but 
her own, were both likely to be productive 
of more difficulty than inviting Zora 
Brown on a visit. 

Zora would be a delightful companion and 
useful friend, would help Kate to pack, and 
run on her errands, and mend her dresses, 
and be generally handy, and would, no 
doubt, soon pick up the language. With 
an eye to the development of this plan — 
which, indeed, Kate had vaguely conceived 
even from the time she first found that 
Zora was in straitened circumstances — 
Kate purchased an Italian grammar and an 
easy reading-book, and presented them to 
Zora — who was somewhat surprised by the 
nature of the gift, — with a request that she 
would study them attentively. 


Mrs. Craven was a little astonished at 
first when Kate, with an air of pleading 
and confidential mystery, unfolded her 

"But, my darling child," she said, ^' I do 
not see what you want with another friend 
and companion ! There is Luli ; is she not 
a charming companion ?" 

" Oh yes, mother dear," replied Kate. 
*' Luli is as good and sweet as she can be, 
:and you know I am very fond of Luli ; 
but can you fancy our beloved Glencairn's 
face if he saw Luli strapping my portman- 
teau for me, or running out in a broiling 
sun to post my letters, or working at my 
dress while I lay on a sofa. Another 
thing, Luli is so delicate. She is sure to 
be two days a week lying down with a 
headache, or having mustard-plasters put 


on her chest. Zora would make herself 
quite a blessing to us all, I am sure ; and 
then just think what a treat it would be to 
her, poor child ! Look at her, poked up in 
that miserable little attic ! such a waste of 
her pretty face, and her youth and bright- 
ness ! I declare it would be worth any- 
thing to give Zora a good long happy 

It naturally followed that Mrs. Craven 
was melted and moulded to her daughter's 
wishes, and was in a short time as well 
satisfied with the scheme of taking Zora 
Brown with them as was Kate herself. 

Directly she had obtained permission to 
regard her plan as accepted and settled, 
Kate rushed off in high delight to convey 
the invitation to Zora. 

She knew her way well up to the fourth- 


floor-back by this time, for her visits were 
a trifle more frequent than Mrs. Craven 
quite approved. Mrs. Craven had no ob- 
jection to the friendship, indeed she was 
kind-hearted enough to approve and help it 
in every way, but she preferred to have 
Zora to visit them; she did not think 
Zora*s abode was a desirable item on a 
visiting-list, but Kate declared she ** liked 
the fun" of going to see Zora in ''the 
menagerie " as she had christened the 
establishment where Zora lodged. 

It was a curiously mixed household in 
truth. The parlour was occupied by a 
widow lady, who like Zora was seeking 
employment, and like Zora found the quest 
a long one, and who was considered " mys- 
terious " by the landlady because she did 
not confide her sorrows. In the drawing- 


rooms were a highly respectable couple, an 
old gentleman of scientific and literary 
inclinations and his homely, unscientific, and 
illiterate wife ; the second floor contained a 
Polish Count of unpronouncable name and 
scanty resources, and an engine-driver who 
came home at all hours of the night, and 
was rather proud of the society of his 
titled neighbour ; the third floor was occu- 
pied by a young couple, who by day were 
two pale, quiet, careworn, harmless-looking 
people, answering to the name of Mr. and 
Mrs. Smith, and by night were Mr. 
riorentine Lennox and Miss Kitty Fitz- 
Alan, and went out in gorgeous array, — 
she in evening toilettes a little the worse 
for wear, and he sometimes as a huntsman, 
sometimes a pirate, now a sailor and then 
a Regent Street swell — to sing at this or that 


Hall wliere the popular taste in music is 
trained and cultivated. Finally on the 
fourth floor were Miss Zora Brown and 
Mademoiselle Celestine Durant, a sharp- 
featured Frenchwoman, neither pretty nor 
young, whose family had fled to England 
in one of the periodical epochs of dis- 
turbance in France, who kept a talkative 
parrot, and earned most of her living by 
dressmaking for several families who were 
kind to her. 

In this mixed establishment Zora lived 
with perhaps more comfort than she 
would have found in a more select place of 
residence. She was rather a favourite 
with the landlady, on account of the punc- 
tuality with which her small amount of 
rent had always been paid, of her unvary- 
ing amiability and readiness to take things as 


they came and make rougli places smooth,, 
and of her active sympathy with the land- 
lady in all the latter's troubles and trials, ail- 
ments and grievances. She was a favourite 
too with all her fellow-lodgers except the 
foreign Count, whose attentions she had 
somewhat brusquely repelled, in which 
matter the landlady highly commended her, 
and expressed her intention of giving the 
Count warning — (his rent being at that 
time some three months in arrear.) 

Miss Brown had the reputation of being 
the most amiable person in the house ; 
"and such a pretty creature, and so per- 
fectly the lady too !" It was Miss Brown 
who nursed the widow when she was ill ; it 
was Miss Brown who willingly gave up her 
room and accepted a shake-down in the 
parlour when the landlady wished to enter- 


tain a profitable old lodger for a few niglits ; 
it was Miss Brown who took care of Made- 
moiselle Celestine's cross-grained parrot 
during the latter's absence from town ; and 
consequently upon all these good offices, it 
was she whom the landlady recommended 
as amanuensis to the old gentleman in the 
drawing-rooms when he conceived the 
brilliant idea of weaving his scientific and 
theological theories into a novel with a 
Purpose, and found his gouty right hand 
an obstacle in his way. 

Zora^s post as temporary secretary was 
envied her by the noble Polish refugee 
above and the widow below, but as the 
former only understood English imperfectly, 
and the latter was at feud with the old 
gentleman's wife, there was nothing very 
wonderful in Zora's being elected as his 


amanuensis. It was poor jDay, but light 
work; and Zora liked it well enough. 

When Kate arrived, breathless as usual, 
on the fourth floor, she found the room 
empty. Although Zora's apartment was 
scantily furnished, and lofty as to situa- 
tion, if lowly as to ceiling, it somehow 
looked a lady's room still. The faded 
chintz curtains were clean, and tied back 
with knots and streamers of ribbon, faded 
too, but knotted with carefully careless 
grace. There were two or three cheap 
framed engravings and lithographs on the 
walls ; there were photographs on the 
mantelpiece, and a couple of pots of 
flowers on the window-sill ; a pretty little 
work-basket stood open on the table, in 
company with a few books — volumes of 
poetry chiefly, and a novel or two. Every- 

VOL. II. c 

. ' ^ 


thing was spotlessly clean, and just in the 
place where it seemed it ought to be, ex- 
cept a blue silk dress, that lay upon the 
bed as if it had been hastily flung there. 
Kate peeped into the books on the table, 
regarded the photographs on the mantel- 
piece, and then looked out of the window. 
There was a fine view of chimney-pots, 
tiles, and back-yards, most of which were 
ornamented, in lieu of trees or flowers, 
with clothes hung out to dry. In one 
yard a terrier was gnawing a bone on 
some straggling, withered tufts of grass, 
that had once been a lawn ; in another, 
children were playing ; and in a third, 
three hens and a plumeless chanticleer, too 
depressed to crow, were pecking. The 
contemplation of these interesting scenes 
soon palled on Kate. She was yawning, 


when a quick, light step pattered up the 
stairs, and Zora ran in smiling. 

*'Kate dear! How glad I am to see 

you !" 

"I found the cage empty, and I was 
wondering where the bird had flown to," 
said Kate, kissing her friend with effusion. 
*' I was just going to call aloud for you, but 
I hadn't recovered my breath." 

**I was downstairs attending to my 

onerous duties as secretary," replied Zora, 

gaily. " And oh ! Kate, they are trying 

duties sometimes ! Our work is entitled 

'A Scientific and Theological Romance,' you 

know. Well, the science is all very well ; 

I don't try to understand it, but I manage 

to spell the words. And the theological part 

of the business — that, although it strikes 

me as being rather crazy, is all very well 



too. But, being a romance, the dear old 
gentleman has thought it necessary to 
infuse a little love into it. And oh ! the 
love scenes !" Zora burst into irrepressible 
laughter as she mentioned them. " Kate, 
if you could only see the efforts with which 
I preserve my countenance!" 

"I should probably laugh, so that you 
would not be able to preserve it any 

" And if you could only hear the inter- 
view I have been copying this morning, 
you would wonder that I keep a sober face 
on at all ! The heroine's name is Ange- 
lina ; she is never mentioned without the 
prefix of * The Beautiful ;' and in the midst 
of a harrowing parting-scene with her 
lover, she delivers a speech two pages long 
on the effects of emotion on the tissues of 
the brain." 


" I wonder the author's wife thinks it 
safe to allow him such a secretary for his 
love-stories," observed Kate, looking on 
Zora's lovely, animated face. 

" Safe, my dear Kate ! — he is gouty ; he 
is rheumatic ; and oh ! so old and so ugly 
it seems half a farce and half a sacrilege 
for him to talk about love, even in his 

*' Well, poor fellow ! I suppose he was 
young once !" said Kate. " Do you think, 
then, that only young and handsome people 
ought to be allowed to talk about love, 

" You must consult some other authority 
on love," Zora replied, smiling, but with a 
shade of half bitter meaning. " What can 
1 know about it? It's a luxury beyond 



*' Ah, nonsense ! Zora !" said Kate, nod- 
ding wisely ; "I am sure you must have 
plenty of flirtations, only you are so quiet 
about them." 

"Whom have T got to flirt with, except 
my friend the engine-driver, below ? And 
his hands are always grimy, and he never 
cleans his nails," remarked Zora, with an 
air of placid criticism. 

" There's your Polish refugee ?" suggest- 
ed Kate. 

" I hate him !" said the other, quickly 
and sincerely. 

*' Are you going to a party ?" inquired 
Kate, volatile as usual in jumping from one 
subject to another, and pointing to the blue 
silk dress on the bed. 

"No; that's an exchange I am making. 
What good is a light silk dress to me ? I 


never go out. And little Mrs. Smith — I 
told you about her, Miss Kitty Fitz-Alan, 
you know ! — wants a new silk for her 
benefit-night; and / want a hat and jacket. 
So we exchange ; I am cutting my blue 
silk to fit her, and here you behold what I 
have got instead ! It's a pretty hat, isn't 
it ?" said Zora, producing from a cupboard 
a grey hat and grey cloak, and perking up 
the feathers of the hat with a satisfied air. 

" And are you so intimate with this Miss 
Fitz-Alan as all that ?" inquired Kate, open- 
ing her eyes wide. 

"• Yes. Why should I not be ? Are 
you shocked, Kate ? She would not be 
presentable among the upper ten thousand, 
I suppose; but she is a good kind little 
thing, although she does sing at music- 
halls. And I have not so many friends 


that I can afford to slight the kindness of 
those around me. Do you know, Kate 
dear, that except yourselves, and the Tre- 
vors and the Baileys — ah ! and dear old 
Mrs. Grant, who took me to stay with her 
when my aunt died — I have not one friend 
in the world except — except such as they 
are in this house? Sometimes I have 
fancied that if I had no good-class friends 
at all, no friends above the caste of poor 
little Mrs. Smith, I might not feel lonely 
so often." 

Zora spoke sadly, but quietly, without 
any tears or sighs, and with such a steady 
sweetness and affection in her look that 
even a more sensitive person than Kate 
could not have misinterpreted or been 
offended by the utterance. Kate flung her 
arm round Zora's waist in demonstrative 


sympathy, and exclaimed, brimming over 
exuberantly witb the news she had come 
to tell, 

'' Zora dear, I have got something to 
ask you ! You won't feel lonely, you won't 
need to think about 'this class and that 
class ' friends — not for half a year at least — 
if you can only do what I want you to do ! 
You see we are going to winter in Italy 
this season. We have taken a villa on the 
Lake of Como for the Autumn, and we 
want you to go with us !" 

Zora looked up amazed, and her colour 

'' Go with you — to Italy ? Kate dear, I 
don't understand. How could I manage 
it ?" she said, almost bewilderedly. 

" Manage it ! there's nothing to manage. 
Say yes ! that's all ! and come with us, be 


one of us, for a good long visit — a visit all 
tlie Autumn and Winter long — and you'll 
see Como, and Venice, and Florence, and 

Eome, and Naples " Kate paused in 

her enumeration, out of breath with eager- 
ness. Then, looking at Zora, she exclaim- 
ed in dismay, ^' Oh my gracious ! what are 
you crying about? Don't cry; what on 
earth's the matter ? Can't you manage to 
go with us ?" 

" There's nothing the matter," sobbed 
Zora ; ''I could — I could go with you ! only 
— it's too much — it's too good to be true !" 

*' Not a bit too good to be true, as you'll 
see when we get there !" said Kate 
buoyantly. " It's all settled then, and 
you'll come !" and bestowing a sounding 
kiss on her friend's cheek, Kate pronounced 
the arrangement to be " jolly." 


Matters being thus arranged to the 
satisfaction of all parties, preparations for 
the Autumn travelling began to be made. 
Kate and Luli visited dress-makers, and 
sent in milliners' " little accounts" to their 
respective fathers ; Zora consulted with the 
various feminine members, from the attic 
to the basement, of the mixed establish- 
ment that was her home, on the important 
question of how best to combine economy 
and elegance in dress. She went about 
shopping, picking up bargains here and 
there, and revelled, " as only girlhood can," 
in the rare delight of having a few pounds 
to spend, and nothing but dress to spend it 

Kate invited Luli and Zora to lunch one 
day, in order that they might become ac- 
quainted before they met in the Italian 


villa where tliey would be tlirown into 
intimate association for all the Autumn. 

So the two girls met, and each remem. 
bered their first meeting many years ago ; 
and each as the memory came across them 
lightly blushed and smiled, for they re- 
tained mutually favourable recollections of 
one another. Now, as young women, they 
were as pleasantly impressed by each other 
as at that brief meeting when they were chil- 
dren. It would have been strange if it had 
fallen otherwise ; for both were pretty and 
•charming in their opposite styles ; Zora's 
manner was as graceful and refined as 
Lull's ; and Zora's simple dress of dark 
alpaca fitted her well-proportioned figure 
and became her fair complexion and dark 
eyes to the full as well as Lull's delicate 
dove-coloured silk set off her pure blonde 


beauty. Being women, each appraised 
the other's dress in a glance ; but being 
good-natured in the truest sense of the 
word, the one did not envy, and the other 
did not look down disparagingly from the 
height of her own fashionable toilette. 

Both alike were not only dowered with 
personal attractions, but also with that 
half -pensive appealing softness of voice and 
manner which never fails to please. 
Gentleness, sweetness^ tenderness, were the 
predominating characteristics discernible 
in the eyes and accents of both. Yet they 
were of natures widely opposite, as a 
physiognomist would soon have learnt. 
As far different as Luli's golden waves 
from Z era's dark curls were their two 
characters. The real weakness of the one 
nature betrayed itself as seldom as the real 
strength and tenacity of the other. 


Zora's life had been a path of thorns, 
and Lull's a path of roses ; thus their 
strength had been unequally tested ; their 
energies unequally called forth. One seemed 
a spoilt child sunk in the lap of luxury ; 
the other a brave little Amazon, bearing 
the brunt of the world, battling the 
attacks of poverty and toil and disappoint- 
ment courageously with her fragile little 
hands and dauntless spirit. The young 
soldier endures the fatigues and priva- 
tions of the march gallantly ; and looks 
eagerly forward to the crash of the meeting 
armies ; but not until the storm of shot 
sweeps the plain and the death-dealing fire 
blazes through the pall of smoke, can he 
know how he will actually bear himself in 
the hour of battle. " Let no man till his 
death be called happy." Let no human 


creature till his or lier deatli be accounted 

Luli and Zora however did not study 
each other more deeply than the proverbial 
depth of beauty ; and, being mutually 
pleased, each replied with sincerity, " Yes, 
she is charming," to the question, " You 
like her, don't you ? You'll get on to- 
gether, won't you?" which Kate put to 
each in the other's absence. Then Luli 
went home to dine and dress and go to the 
theatre with her father and her lover ; and 
Zora returned to her home, to share in a 
cheering repast of weak tea and toast on the 
co-operative principle with Mrs. Smith and 
Mademoiselle Durant, and then to write 
from dictation some thirty very heavy and 
scientific pages of the scientific Romance, 
after which she surreptitiously looked out 


all the hard words in the dictionary to 
assure herself that she had spelt them right. 
Zora, now that the time of her leaving 
the house was fixed, made herself more a 
favourite than ever with its various in- 
mates. The old drawing-room author 
mourned that he should not be able to 
finish his second volume before she w^ent 
away ; the parlour widow contemplated 
reconciling herself with his wife in order 
to succeed to Zora's post, and assured Zora 
magnanimously that, in spite of her supe- 
rior good fortune, she bore her no grudge, 
and regarded her as a sister — indeed, had 
so regarded her always. The widow being 
five-and-thirty, and plain, this adopted 
relationship was more complimentary to 
herself than to Zora. The engine-driver 
appeared to deem it expedient to keep the 


valve down sternly on Lis ^feelings, but, by 
way of a parting token, he presented her 
with a little model of his favourite engine, 
the Firefly, which Zora did not quite know 
what to do with, as it was an awkward 
thing to pack in her travelling-box, and it 
might hurt the donor's feelings to leave 
it behind. 

Mademoiselle Celestine beckoned Zora 
into her room one day, and, pointing to the 
ring wherein the parrot was swinging, said 
proudly, *^ Listen to him !" The talented 
bird had learnt to say ^* Good-bye, Brown," 
which he now repeated, curtseying up and 
down on his perch every time he saw Zora. 
It appeared that he disapproved of all 
prefixes to the surname, as he would never 
be taught to address the landlady otherwise 
than as " Jones." 



Mrs. Jones, who had a partiality for the 
employment of fine English, requested Zora 
to keep up a correspondence with them in 
these terms — 

"We 'ope youll write frequent, Miss 
Brown, and retaliate us all your adventures 
in the Lake of Como." 

"Indeed I will, if you will be good 
enough to spare time to read my epistles," 
promised Zora, smiling partly in her usual 
courtesy, partly in suppressed mirth. 

" All the 'ousehold, upstairs and down, 
will carouse your epistles with the greatest 
interest," said Mrs. Jones, with dignity. 
"For a young lady as made 'erself more 
universally pop'lar, I've never 'ad inside 
this establishment." 

The Cravens, in company with Zora, 
were to leave London in September, and 


proceed straight to Como, where the Glen- 
cairns, who had arranged to spend the 
previous month in Switzerland, would 
arrive about the same time. Duke May- 
burne was to join the party when and 
where he could, being, of course, kept au 
courant with their progress from place to 
place by Luli's bulletins, which promised 
fair to prove an almost daily dessert. 

"I shall ruin myself in postage," she 
observed playfully, " which is an additional 
reason for your joining us soon. Come to 
us as soon as ever you can, dear. Join us 
in Switzerland, that we may cross over the 
Alps into Italy together," 

" As soon as ever I can, pet. Do you 

think I would lose a day?" responded 


" And while I am away, be a good boy, 

D 2 


and don't flirt !" stie said, laughingly. 

This injunction was the merest piece of 
idle chaff on her part, for she was the 
most trustful and confiding fiancee who 
ever loved and was beloved ; she allowed 
Duke to waltz with whom he liked, gave 
him a free licence to go to parties without 
her, never complained if he stayed away 
from parties where she was, and made no 
grievance of club-dinners. 

'* I'm afraid I shall be driven to flirt in 
your absence," he replied; "how else shall 
I while the time away ? Don't ask me to 
promise to give up my one consolation," he 
added, with mock gravity. 

She smiled softly, and looking down, 
twisted a ring round and round upon his 
finger, and drooped her head caressingly 
on his shoulder, which happened conveni- 


entlj to be just tlie right height for such a 

" I do not half like your going away- 
even for a month," said Duke, rather 
complaininglj. " The idea of the sea being 
between us, even though it is only the 
British Channel, is not a pleasant one. I 
hated you to be even in the Isle of Wight !" 

" I do not feel as if we were ever really 
apart," said Luli, softly, " Somehow it 
does not seem that more or less distance 
between us can separate us at all. I am 
always conscious of your presence when 
you are away from me just as fully as if 
you were here. I think it would always 
be so. If I were at the other side of the 
world, I should still have that indescribable 
consciousness of your presence. You would 
be with me. Do you not think, Duke, that 


there is really a part of each human soul 
which exists outside itself in those it loves, 
and in them only ?" 

"My dreaming darling," he said, tender- 
ly, "I wonder you do not take wings 
and fly away into spirit-land altogether !" 

'' Away from you ?" 

*' According to your theory, you would 
be with me still. Of course it is true 
enough, Luli, that, in your sense of the 
word, we are never really separated, and 
your presence is always with me — but it is 
a cold comfort, an unreal mockery that one 
cannot grasp ! only a melting-away shadow 
that makes one aspire the more passionate- 
ly after the substance. The ideal presence 
only inspires the longing for the real 
woman. Has the shadowy memory of you 
this hair that I twine warm and soft and 


silken round my finger? Has the ideal 
these lips? I must put their reality to 
proof," he added, and bent his handsome 
head down to suit the action to the word. 
" Ah !" responded Luli, after a few mo- 
ments' pause, in her tender dreamy way, 
** Cleopatra was not an ideal nature, and 
was not in the least likely to take wings 
and fly up to spirit-land. And Antony's 
love for her was a love as much of earth 
as was her beauty. But even between 
those two the parting words were, 

' Thou residing here goest yet with me, 
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee !'" 



" fit and few ! O tried and true, 
The friends who met that day ; 
Each one the other's spirit knew, ' 

And so in earnest play, 

" The hours flew past until at last 
The twilight kissed the shore ; 
We said * Such suns will shine again 
For ever, evermore !' " 

fTlHB September twiliglit is settling gently 
-*- down on tlie white, dusty Italian 

road, and on tlie travelling carriage that is 

crawling along it leisurely, on the avenue 

of acacia-trees that turns off from the 

road, and on the white-walled villa that 

stands at the end of the avenue, and from 

whose chimneys a slender spiral column 

!■— mt m^' — ^ -r-.^^^ 


of smoke is wreathing np across the clear, 
dusky sky. 

The carriage is drawn by two thin 

horses of depressed aspect, who seem to 

have scarcely energy enough to switch their 

tails to brush off a fly ; they have bells on 

their harness, but even the bells jingle with 

a melancholy monotony as the jaded beasts 

plod along ; — work is hard and constant 

all the season now that the Briton and the 

American are abroad, and that both these 

nations of travellers make Italy one of the 

principal fields of their exploits. The 

horses are despondent ; but the vettunno is 

cheerful. He has a large, straw hat, with 

a little tinsel image of the Virgin stuck in 

the riband ; his face is mahogany brown in 

contrast with his white hat and snowy 

linen blouse ; he is humming an operatic 


air softly, and swinging the lasli of his 
whip pensively in time to the melody, and 
watching its snaky evolutions with a 
dreamily abstracted air. 

Inside the carriage are three travellers, 
the Glencairns and Duke Mayburne, who 
are on their way to the Yilla Serboni, where 
the Cravens have already arrived, and have 
been installed for some days. Duke has 
succeeded in getting away from London 
in time to join his Jianqee and her father in 
Switzerland, and they have had a delightful 
week together, leisurely making their way 
across the Alps to Lake Oomo. 

The three travellers are very dusty and 
rather tired. Their refreshment that day 
has chiefly consisted of grapes, the 
little cylindrical rolls called grissini^ and a 
bottle of Asti, which, although a delicious 


wine, is more cooling tlian invigorating^ 
They are covered from head to foot with 
dust — dust that, although it blows up in 
white clouds from the white road, yet pos- 
sesses the inconveniently chameleon pro- 
perty of making everything that should be 
white about their attire black, as well as 
everj7 thing that should be black, white. The 
weary trio brighten up alertly as the driver 
turns into the avenue, and, snapping his 
whip in the direction of the white-walled 
building, exclaims, 

** Ecco, signori, ecco la Villa." 

Then he falls to cracking his whip 
furiously, and urging his horses in alter- 
nately cheering and reproachful terms to 
put on their pace and end the journey with 
a flourish. The tired beasts know what is 
expected of them, and respond gallantly to- 


the call ; they quicken their steps, switch 
their sides with their thin tails, prick up 
their ears, throw up their heads (at an ad- 
monitory jerk of the reins), and really have 
"** got up the steam " so as to make a very 
respectable show of spirit by the time they 
pull up at the entrance of the Villa Serboni. 
The travellers have not to wait long 
on the threshold; a pair of wide doors 
rswing back immediately, and they find 
themselves in the midst of what appears at 
the first sight a crowd, but on further in- 
spection resolves itself into a group of seven 
persons, Mr. and Mrs. Craven, Kate, Zora, 
and three domestics, all overflowing with 
welcome, some embracing the arrivals, 
:Some shaking hands, others seizing and 
bearing away their bags and baskets and 


. " Mr. Mayburne, you'll ^ dream you dwell 
in marble halls ' here, won't you ?" exclaims 
Kate, with a comprehensive wave of her 
hand around, 

" I shall not be driven to dreams ; here's 
the reality !" he replies, and adds, in a 
confidential aside, *'I say, Luli, this is 
jolly, eh ?" 

The great hall in which they stand is 
paved with black and white marble; the 
walls and ceiling are painted in fresco ; 
the twilight is now too far advanced, and 
the light of the one candle which somebody 
has lit in a hurry is too weak to show the 
designs of the painting, further than the 
fact that there appear to be a great number 
of unclad rosy babies, presumably either 
cherubs or Cupids, in it. The hall contains 
no furniture of any kind, except a mat or 


two ; it is bare, and cold, and splendid ; 
doors open into it on each side ; there is a 
white marble staircase, and at the further 
end of the hall, opposite the entrance door, 
is another large double door with stained- 
glass panels. 

By the time the driver has been settled 
with, and the luggage brought in, Mrs. 
Craven suggests that the travellers should 
be shown to their rooms, but Kate protests, 

**N"o, no ; they must see the terrace first 
— our terrace ! — it^s getting dark so quick- 
ly. Come, all of you, this way. Mr. May- 
burne, don't glue your nose to the wall ; 
you can't see the pictures by this light ; and 
you'll have plenty of time to study every 
little cherub and seraph of them presently. 
No, Mr. Glencairn, not upstairs yet! this 
way, please." 


Kate, energetically filling her role of 
show-woman, opens the double glass doors, 
and leads the way out on to a broad 
terrace, bordered by a heavy marble balus- 
trade, with steps leading down to the 
garden at each end, with tall flowering 
shrubs in great pots, with trees and 
flowers and stone benches, and amongst 
the foliage white objects, concerning which 
Kate re-assured them — 

*' They're not ghosts — they're statues." 

" Oh, how lovely !" said Luli, looking 
round, and clasping her hands in admira- 
tion. " Duke, is it not beautiful ? Shall 
we not be happy here ?" 

Then they went indoors again, and up 
the marble staircase into a large salon, 
with high-backed chairs and straight- 
backed couches, all of carved wood, covered 



in dark velvet, and all more picturesque 
than comfortable. However, as Kate re- 
marked, '' So tliat one is thorouglily Con- 
tinental, one must not grumble at a trifling 
absence of comfort in tlie easy-cbairs." 
Out of this salon opened two doors on 
each side, each door opening into a bed- 
room. On one side of the salon Mr, and 
Mrs. Craven occupied the front bedroom, 
and Kate the back ; on the other side Zora 
had the back room, and the front one was 
reserved for Luli. The front rooms were 
the largest and the best furnished ; the 
back rooms looked over the terrace, and 
the terrace steps led up to their balcony. 

" Are you not afraid of robbers ?" asked 
Luli, as she looked out of Zora's window. 

*' We think our daily view compensates 
for the unlikely chance of robbers profan- 


inor this Arcadiau abode." said Zora. 

CD ' 

''You must see our view by daylight, Miss 
Glencairn, to appreciate it ; tliougli I think 
it looks really loveliest by moouliglit." 

" But where are you going to put papa 
and Duke?" asked Luli of Mrs. Craven, 
counting the occupants of the rooms. 

"In two nice rooms on the ground- 
floor, opening out of the hall. They will 
not be afraid of burglars, I dare say ; will 
you, Mr. Glencairn ?" 

" They shall have a warm welcome if 
they come, poor devils ! I have a neat 
little ivory pistol in my dressing-case." 

** Have you really? Dear me, I hope 
you don't keep it loaded !" 

*' Being locked up in a dressing-case, it 
would scarcely be likely to go off of its own 
accord," he said, lightly. 



The hungry travellers were by no means 
sorry when the table was laid, and, with 
the dust of the journey shaken off, and the 
fatigues over, they sat down to an excellent 
meal, washed down by copious libations of 
Asti spumante. They were waited on by a 
black-eyed damsel, with heavy gold ear- 
drops, and an assiduous and confidential 
young man, the one yclept Assunta, the 
other Pietro, with whom all the party com- 
municated in Italian, more or less faulty 
in grammar, and British in accent. Kate 
and Luli spoke Italian the best of the 
party ; behind them-— but a long way be- 
hind — came Glencairn and Duke May 
burne. Mrs. Craven could speak a few 
words with tolerable fluency ; but the 
vocabulary of Mr. Craven and Zora ap- 
peared to be confined to " Si," " Grazie," 
"Buona sera," and "Pane." 


Zora could, liad she chosen, have spoken 
more, but, self-taught as she was, she was 
shyly conscious that her pronunciation was 
hopelessly bad, and that some of the others 
were sufficiently good Italian scholars to 
be aware of this. 

Lively Kate chattered and laughed, and 
kept the table merry, in her usual fashion ; 
quiet Luli, all the quieter because she was 
tired with her day's journey, smiled in 
tranquil content, looked peaceful and 
pretty and pale, and joined a little in the 
conversation now and then. Zora sat as 
quietly and serenely content as Luli, 
speaking little, but full of a bright atten- 
tion to whoever spoke. 

Neither Duke Mayburne nor Glencairn 
had ever noticed Zora before ; indeed, the 
latter had only caught a glimpse of her 

E 2 



once at the Cravens' in London, clad in a 
waterproof cloak and an unbecoming 
brown veil, with a middle-aged-looking 
alpaca umbrella in her hand. He had not 
looked at her sufficiently to recognise her 
again. Oddly enough, considering that 
she was pretty, and he was an artist, Duke 
had not noticed her either. To be sure he 
had only met her once or twice at an after- 
noon visit, when her face had been 
shadowed by her hat, and her quiet and 
unobtrusive manner had kept her in the 
background. Besides, in London a certain 
pale and careworn aspect had shaded her 
beauty, and rendered it less likely to strike 
an indifferent person at first sight. 

But now both Duke and Glencairn 
looked at her, and it was certain that they 
would never forget her face again. Duke 


regarded lier in simple artistic admiration, 
•wondering how he could have let so lovely 
a creature pass unnoticed. Glencairn 
thought her pretty, but it was not her 
beauty that attracted him and drew his 
gaze so often to her. It was a likeness, 
startlingly vivid in the eyes and mouth, 
shadowy and indefinite over the rest of the 
face, but everywhere, even to the growth 
of the soft curling hair — a likeness ! — a 
likeness that bore no pleasing associations 
with it, to judge by the half dissatisfied 
and repelled, but irresistible, curiosity with 
which he looked at her in whose soft ex- 
pressive features there was certainly 
nothing to dissatisfy or repel. 

She was seated next Kate Craven, and 
Kate's fresh, rosy, animated, but somewhat 
common type of face was an admirable foil 


to Zora's soft seductive loveliness. Zora 
was fair, not with the pink and white fair- 
ness of a blonde, nor the transparent pallor 
of delicate health, but spotlessly fair with 
the pure and creamy whiteness, fair as the 
inner petals of a white rose, that mingles 
the charms of the richness of the brunette 
and the delicacy of the blonde. Her hands 
were slightly bronzed by the Italian sun, 
but her arms, partly visible under her 
loose muslin sleeves, were white as lily- 
petals, and worthy for form and outline to 
be modelled in marble. She had a graceful 
supple figure, neither tall nor short, neither 
large nor small, although below the average 
height. She had dark hair, soft as silk, 
kept rather short, and tied back with a 
ribbon in a mass of natural curls. She 
had a face a trifle too round for the perfect 


line of beauty, a nose with which criticism 
might have found plenty of fault (it was 
certainly a trifle ^* tiptilted," as the Laur- 
eate puts it), but which nobody was ever 
tempted to wish changed, it suited her face 
so well. 

Though a critic might have cavilled at 
the outline of her face falling short of the 
perfect oval, and pronounced coldly against 
the dainty little nose, there^ however, the 
power of criticism stopped. No fault could 
be found with the pure and stainless fair- 
ness of the complexion, with the smooth 
low brow, the small delicate ears like pale 
pink pearly shells, or the pretty dimpled 
chin ; while as for the eyes and lips, they 
would have glorified even the plainest 
features into loveliness. Lips of the per- 
fect Cupid's bow shape, coral-red, soft, 


sensitive, tempting, faultless ! and eyes to 
drive men mad — eyes of that velvety 
brown that is richer than grey, deeper than 
blue, softer than black, shaded by long curl- 
ing black lashes, from under whose shadows 
their slow upward glances or sudden side- 
ward sparkles were fit to thrill the coldest 
or fascinate the dullest. 

With those eyes and lips she could never 
be anything but charming ; and happiness, 
peace, and ease are such beautifiers that, 
although always lovely, she has perhaps 
never before been so perfectly beautiful as 
now, in her new pleasant life. 

" Who is she — that little friend of 
Kate's ?'' asked Glencairn of Mr. Craven, 
when the three gentlemen were crossing 
the great lonely hall where their footsteps 
seemed to raise a battalion of weird echo- 


ing ghostly footsteps upon the marble 

" She's an orphan, poor little thing ; a 
very nice, affectionate, warm-hearted girl. 
Kate is very fond of her." 

Mr. Craven's reply, although intended to 
be comprehensive and satisfactory, really 
conveyed no information at all, inasmuch 
as everybody knew, or had heard at least, 
that she was an orphan ; and that she was 
affectionate, and that Kate was fond of her, 
were perfectly self-evident facts. 

Glencairn's curiosity however appeared 
to have been somehow excited concerning 
Zora Brown ; for he alluded to her in an 
inquiring tone again the following day. 
They were all out on the terrace, except 
Duke and Luli. Glimpses of a golden head 
and a curly chestnut head slowly passing 


and repassing the shrubbery, bore witness 
that these young people were enjoying a 
leisure saunter about the garden. Zora 
was plucking'^flowers to fill the vases in the 
salon, and talking to Mr. Craven, who 
stood near, looking up at him with her con- 
fiding appealing glances, as if consulting 
him on the weighty question of myrtle versus 
verbena. Glencairn, who was lounging 
on one of the stone benches beside Mrs. 
Craven and Kate, took the opportunity of 
renewing his inquiry about Zora, asking 
lazily, but with some appearance of interest, 

" Who is she ?" 

Mrs. Craven replied as usual, 

" Oh, she was our landlady's niece down 
at Brighton, years ago ; and Kate took a 
fancy to her, and they became great friends 
as children, and have kept their friendship up. 


Sbe is a very nice ladylike girl, or of course 
she would not be here. She always was 
above her class, even as a child of nine 
years old ; and she is well-educated too." 

" Oh come, you know, mamma," inter- 
posed Kate, " that she was not really a 
niece of that old woman's. A relation, she 
says — well, she may have been a relation, 
but it was a rather distant one, I fancy .^ 
You need only look at Zora to see that she 
really is a lady. I fancy there is some kind 
of romance about who and what she is." 

*^ If she is not related to poor old Mrs. 
Brown, I am afraid the * romance ' of the 
poor child's parentage is a common story 
enough," said Mrs. Craven sensibly. 

" Yery probably," agreed Glencairn. 

*' Of course whether she was or not for- 
tunate in her parents, poor dear girl I 


•could make no difference in our friend ship 
for her," continued Mrs. Craven. 

" All we really know about it," said 
Kate confidentially, ^' is that her father died 
when she was a baby, and her mother when 
she was about eight years old." 

" Is that so ?" said Glencairn quietly, and 
in a rather indifferent and absent tone, as 
if merely answering Kate's address from 
politeness. But Kate fancied there was a 
slight knitting of his brows and a dark 
look in his eyes, as if he were troubled by 
some unpleasant thought or working out 
some calculation. However, he seemed 
to have lost all interest in the subject and 
pursued it no further ; and as Kate im- 
mediately recollected, it was quite impos- 
sible for him to take any interest in Zora, 
for he was much too old to fall in love 


witli her, pretty as she was, and lie could 
not have known her before, because they 
were quite strangers. With this logical 
conclusion, Kate forgot all about Glen- 
cairn s momentary inquisitiveness concern- 
ing her friend. 



" Breathless heavens and blinding noons, 
Friends that loiter 'neath garden trees ; 
Two together ; a sense of peace ; 
Long still nights and the great sweet moons. 
Love victorious, crowned at last ! 
Bliss exalted and grief downcast, 
And a calm as deep as of Summer seas." 


fPHE party inhabiting the Yilla Serboni 
was pronounced by all to be a de- 
cided success before three days had elapsed. 
The elements mixed harmoniously, a *' con- 
summation devoutly to be wished " in every 
such case, but which does not always 
happen even amongst elements of the most 
meritorious and attractive kind. There is 


sometliing more than mutual merit, even 
more than mutual regard, necessary before 
people of different families can wind their 
daily lives and habits together in a skein 
that shall run perfectly knotless, tangleless, 
and smooth. And until the experiment is 
tried, it is often difficult to define in what 
cases it will succeed, and in which it will 
fail. Sometimes it succeeds under the most 
unpromising circumstances, and sometimes 
fails in cases which opened so hopefully that 
it seemed as if no knot or tangle in the 
smooth skein of general amiability were 
possible. It is so much easier to '^ get on 
with " people in theory than in practice. 

However, both in practice and theory, 
the present party wove their daily lives 
together most smoothly and harmoniously, 
and whenever they felt opposite inclina- 


tions tliey amicably agreed to disagree, and 
went each his or her own way comfortably. 
They hired carriages and drove about the 
country, and hired pleasure-boats and went 
rowing on the lake ; they wandered in the 
gardens and lounged upon the terrace ; 
they as a rule spent no more time under 
their marble roof than sleeping and eating 
and drinking demanded ; and in this lotos- 
eating, dreamy, out-of- the -world life, the 
days from sunny morning to starry night 
slid by almost uncounted, each day as like 
another as the rain-drops rolling down the 
glass, and merging into each other and 
melting together as they roll. 

Duke and Luli, happy in the privilege of 
plighted lovers, wandered about together 
according to their own sweet wills, and 
straggled away From the main body when 


and wliere they chose. The seniors of the 
party enjoyed themselves serenely. Glen- 
cairn as usual took his own will and way, was 
sociable or solitary as the mood seized him, 
came and went, and joined or deserted the 
rest of the party according to his pleasure. 
He was one of those people in whose favour 
rules are relaxed and limits extended, who 
are instinctively, and almost universally, 
with or without cause, allowed to be ex- 
empt where others win no privilege — one 
of those tacitly licensed people, of whom — 
whatever they say or do or leave undone — 
it is only remarked carelessly or apolo- 
getically (as the case may be), '' Oh, that's 
his way !" or amusedly and affectionately, 
"Ah, that's just like him !" 

Kate Craven kept the whole company 
bright with her ringing voice and hearty 



laugh, her audacious freedom and gaiety 
always free from ill -nature ; while Zora 
Brown played the combined ivies of confi- 
dential friend and companion to one, and 
of *^ angel in the house " to all. 

Always ready to help some one, anyone, 
or everyone ; never seeming to give a 
thought to herself ; always bright and 
frank, never self-asserting ; always soft 
and gentle, never subservient ; always 
modest, and never awkward; gifted with 
rare loveliness and yet not seeming vain ; 
it was no wonder that she was popular, and 
liked by all the party, — except one ! Glen- 
cairn never really liked her, from the mo- 
ment he had first looked with intentness on 
her face. While all others loved, admired, 
or approved of her, he alone never seemed 
to care for her, although he did not make 


manifest any want of liking, was always 
civil to her, as courteous indeed as it was 
in his nature to be, on the rare occasions 
when he spoke to her, and sometimes 
watched her with a concealed curiosity that 
was far removed from admiration. 

That anyone could remain unresponsive 
to Zora Brown's sweetness, and unmoved 
by her attractions, was really strange. 
She was so pretty that it was a pleasure 
only to look at her; and her presence 
was a sympathetic one, that seemed to 
spread a softening, balmy, soothing in- 
fluence around. And she was no hypo- 
crite. Her unselfishness and amiability, 
her readiness to sacrifice herself in 
every possible way for the furtherance of 
anybody else's comfort, her eagerness to 
help, to study and care for others — were 



all perfectly genuine. It was no actress's 
playing of a graceful and grateful part, but 
the girl's own pure and natural impulse to 
do all in her power for the pleasure or com- 
fort of others, whether they were strangers 
or friends, stronger or weaker, higher or 
lower than herself. This self-abnegating 
amiability on Zora's part was so innate 
and general and evident that all natur- 
ally availed themselves of it, and would 
have done so, even had she not occupied 
the post of ^' useful" friend. 

It was Zora who was never too tired to 
speed anywhere on anybody's errand, who 
always sat in the most uncomfortable place 
in boat or carriage, who took the sunniest 
seat on a hot day, and the draughtiest 


corner on a cool night, and seemed to be 
delighted to do so ; it was Zora who wrote 
Mrs. Cravens letters to dictation, and 


made up tlie houseliold accounts, and 
looked after Kate's wardrobe, and brushed 
Kate's hair; Zora who begged to be allowed 
to sit up all night with Luli when Luli had 
neuralgia, who offered to read her to sleep, 
who tied Lull's necklaces and clasped her 
bracelets, and re-trimmed her hat for her 
when its blue ribbons faded, and mended 
her dress when it was torn. 

Naturally everyone was fond of Zora; 
and probably Zora's apparent self-forget- 
f ulness and real good-nature sprang equally 
from an amiable temper and a strong love 
of approbation. But whatever causes 
combined to form those charming charac- 
teristics, the characteristics were there. 

The only wonder Duke Mayburne ever 
felt in looking at Zora was — not the moot 
question as to who she was and what her 


parents were — but how it could be that so 
beautiful and charming a creature stood 
alone in the world — how such a flower could 
have been left in solitary blossom, planted 
in no man's garden, beautifying no man*s 
home, guarded by no man's care ! Duke 
could not understand it. Her beauty 
delighted his eye ; her sweet unselfish- 
ness attracted and interested him ; he felt 
a perpetual surprise that she should 
have been left unsought, or at least un- 
won. Perhaps he was not far from the 
truth in guessing that those who had 
sought Zora Brown were of a class to 
which she might or might not by birth 
belong, but no man of which would have a 
chance of winning her. He might have 
gone further, and have guessed that such 
casual attentions as had hitherto been paid 


her by men of his class had not been such 
as she. could with self-respect accept. 

Duke had very little conversation with 
Zora ; he was, of course, principally 
absorbed with Luli ; but if he spoke little to 
Zora, he noticed her much. Sometimes it 
seemed to him that there was a shadow of 
sadness and yearning in her large beautiful 
eyes — a pathos in her position there — 
amongst friends, admired, liked, popular, 
and yet alone. "When on any excursion, 
in any contingency of wind or rain, or 
fatigue or difficulty, he and Glencairn 
turned in mutual anxiety to Luli, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Craven were absorbed in Kate, 
and Zora helped everybody, Duke noticed 
that nobody was absorbed in Zora ; and he 
fancied that at such times he read in those 
bright, sweet eyes of hers a passing shadow 


that spoke of loneliness and longing ; and 
in long silences he would look at Zora, and 
note that her spirit seemed far away, and 
wonder whither it had fled. 

Thus although the words he uttered to her 
were very few, the silent observation he be- 
stowed on her was neither slight nor indif- 
ferent. If it was impossible for any man 
to look on Zora's fair face without admira- 
tion, it was equally impossible for any 
woman to meet a look of admiration in 
Duke Mayburne's eyes without responding 
to it, in her secret heart, if not with her 
outward glances. It must have been in 
her secret heart that Zora so responded ; 
for those discreet and modest eyes of hers 
never suffered themselves to express any 
approval of the handsome face whose 
smiles to Lull were so frank and tender, to 
herself so courteous and admiring. 


Althougli slie liad equally little conver- 
sation with either of them, she was as well 
aware, by the keen intuitions of her sex, 
that Duke Mayburne approved and ad- 
mired her, as that Glencairn did not. 

It was a morning bright and warm as 
early Summer, before the first shadow of 
Autumn had fallen over the land. Kate and 
Zora were loitering in the sunshine in the 
garden. Kate was sitting curled up on 
the grass under an elm-tree, lazily absorbed 
in a Tauchnitz novel. The library of the 
present party at the villa was a scanty one, 
consisting of half-a-dozen volumes of modern 
poets (Duke Mayburne's contribution), an 
odd volume of Shakespeare (which Mrs. 
Craven had at the last moment seized at 
random and crammed into a spare corner 
in her box), the accumulating Galignani 


papers of the period, and two or three 
novels in the Tauchnitz form, which being 
in great demand amongst the ladies, were in 
process of being rapidly dismembered, their 
covers falling off, and most of their pages 
hanging by a single string. Zora was 
tying up a bouquet, selecting the flowers 
from a heap that she had plucked and that 
lay scattered on the grass beside her, 
arranging with deft fingers a background 
of delicate acacia leaves and a border of 
drooping ferns, to the rich-coloured 
geraniums and asters. 

Zora's face is bright, and beautified even 
beyond its normal loveliness by happiness 
and peace. This is about the happiest 
time of her life. She has never since her 
childhood known till now what it is to be 
so utterly free from any trouble or care, so 


looked after and fenced around by all the 
careful tender guardianship of English 
family life. She has never at all till now 
known the fascination of foreign lands, the 
delights of new climate, new surroundings, 
new scenes, and new ways of life. It is all 
as bright and strange and beautiful as a 
delicious dream to her. Although she is 
never so animated and flushed with ex- 
uberant robust animal spirits as Kate,, 
although it is not her nature to be loudly 
demonstrative in her joys or her sorrows, 
she is brimming over with a soft radiance 
of youth and pleasure that seems to pour 
sunlight all around her. Zora's pleasure is 
always of that sympathetic kind which 
seems alike to derive itself from others and 
to communicate itself back to them. 

In her light-heartedness she is humming 


and half singing to herself, but the tune is 
not a joyous one. It is often in our 
happiest hours that our instinct is to sing 
those " sweetest songs that tell of saddest 

Glencairn, passing along the path close 
by them, hears the sweet fresh voice 
softly singing in an under-tone ; but as he 
draws near and looks listeningly towards 
her, the melody is abruptly dropped. 

" Don't let me disturb you," he says. 
'* You were singing, Miss Brown ?" 

"No, oh no; only humming. I don't 
sing — at least not now. I used to, once." 

" What air was that you were humming 
then?" he asks. 

" I really scarcely know. Oh yes, it was 
a bar or two of an old song, an unpublished 


"Pretty song, isn't it?" interposes Kate 
vaguely, without looking up from her 

*'I seem to have heard it before," ob- 
serves Glencairn, knitting his brow as if 
striving to recall some lost memory. 

" Do you sing it, Kate ?" 

" Which one ?" asks Kate bewilderedly,. 
looking up and recalling her mind from 
the woes of the heroine of the novel. 

" Tm not good at humming tunes," he 
replies, "and I am afraid I can't give you 
any idea of it. The one Miss Brown was 
humming, I mean." 

Zora, wishing to be amiable, takes up a 
few bars of the air again, prefacing inquir- 
ingly, "This one ?" But she is nervous 
and unusually shy; her voice seems to 
desert her, and the tune to escape her 


memory; and after a few bars -she says 
confusedly and apologetically, 

^' Really I don't recollect. I so seldom 
sing now." 

'^ Thanks ; don't trouble to try your 
memory. I remember it now," lie says, 
looking at her steadily as if the memory 
were slowly taking shape and gazing at 
her helped it to develope itself, as if the 
memory were not a bright one, too. 

"Where is mamma?" inquires Kate, 
not taking much interest in questions of 
unpublished melodies. 

'' I don't know," he answers. " The last 
time I saw her she was on the terrace." 

'' We are always missing each other and 
getting lost in our extensive grounds," ob- 
serves Kate. "Well, if you see her, just 
tell her that Zora and I are here, and that 


■^e don't want to go for any walks or 
drives this morning ; it's too hot, and we 
are so comfortable here in the shade." 

*'I take this message as my dismissal." 

'^No, you don't," she answers promptly; 
"you take it as an opportunity of getting 
away civilly from us girls." 

"Which possibly is the truth, as in this 
case — or in any other case where Zora is 
one of the two ^-nd Glencairn the third, — 
two are evidently much better company 
than three. 

He gives Kate a paternal smile, and 
passes on, — with the echo of a half forgot- 
ten tune in his mind. He has not a very 
accurate memory for music, and whatever 
words may be wedded to that tune have 
utterly passed out of his recollection. 
But the faint and far echo of a long si- 


lenced sound is ringing in his brain. He 
knows not wlien that sound was silenced 
nor on what day or hour it was ever heard ; 
it bears no clear and defined details to his 
mind ; but he knows now from what land 
the wind that brings that far-off echo — 
" blows from the capes of the past over- 
sea to the bays of the present." 

It is from a land to which he hates to 
look back, a land between which and him- 
self for years and years there have rolled 
oceans deeper and wider than those which 
sever hemisphere from hemisphere. Yet 
across those trackless oceans this low 
snatch of melody floats on the wings of 
the wind, a message from the past, a 
whisper that 

" Life cannot sever, 
Death only divide " 

him from the past from which he has 


turned in hatred, and set tlie gulf of lialf a 
life between it and himself. 

So he passes on alone, and leaves the 
two girls there, with their bright faces and 
their cloudless spirits, lounging lazily and 
tranquilly content in the mingling of shade 
and sunshine under the elm-trees, through 
whose dark lofty stretching branches 
the light breaks in tremulous touches, 
bright fitful flecks that fade into shadow 
and quiver into light again as the leaves 
sigh and sway above. 

Duke and Luli are the next to appear 
upon the scene, passing down the garden 
on their way towards the lake. 

'* You lazy children !" says Luli, softly 
smiling as she sees her friends. " There are 
our mutual parents taking a nice brisk 
walk ; and we two are going to ramble on 



tlie shore ; and you are half asleep under 
tlie trees !" 

" Youknow you don't want us !" responds 
Kate, knowingly, " and we are much too 
cosy to disturb ourselves to go and walk 
with our elders." 

The most beautiful human beings have 
undeniably their best and their worst days. 
This is one of Duke Mayburne's "best days;" 
and as he and Luli pass together down 
the winding garden-path, the noon sun 
brightening his curly chestnut hair with 
gleams of reddish gold, and warming to 
olive the clear bronzed paleness of his 
cheek, Kate Craven wakes up from her lazy 
languor, lays down her novel and gazes 
after him with most open and unveiled ad- 

'* Now, Zora !" she exclaims, enthusiast- 


ically, " I have seen beautiful pictures and 
statues enough ! But I never did see on 
canvas or in marble a more perfect face 
than that !" 

" She is very lovely," assented Zora, 
looking after the wrong person with inno- 
cent obtuseness — not altogether genuine. 

^^ She? I mean him! She is a dear, 
pretty, graceful little thing of course ! But 
he is the most splendid human animal I 
ever saw. I'm glad Luli doesn't hear me 
make the remark, by-the-by ; because she 
might be indignant at my calling her be- 
loved an animal. She might take it as an 
intentional insult, which is far from my 
meaning. Only — though of course he's 
clever, I know — it is not the intellect or 
the expression in his face that makes it so 
splendid. It is pure form and colour — 



profile just like animated Greek marble, 
and colouring like a picture !" 

" You are enthusiastic, Kate," said Zora, 
■with a soft smile. "But it is certainly a 
handsome face," she added, very demurely 
with her lips, and in her heart quite echo- 
ing Kate's rhapsody. 

Zora was a prudent little woman, who 
had laid to heart certain lessons of worldly 
lore, and who knew that " it would not do " 
for her to admire Miss Glencairn's lover 
too warmly; so open-hearted Kate, who 
always spoke out exactly what she felt 
(and generally rather more than less), 
thought Zora unappreciative of true mas- 
culine beauty. 



" Sweet life, if Life were stronger, 
Earth clear of things that wrong her, 
Then two things might live longer, 

Two sweeter things than they !" 

" Delight the rootless flower, 

And love the bloomless bower, 

Delight that Uves an hour. 

And love that lives a day." 


rpHE wind had been whistling round the 
Villa Serboni all night; there had 
been clouds drifting across the sky and 
rain-drops pattering against the windows ; 
but in the early morning the changeful 
breeze had blown away the light rain, the 
sun had dispersed the clouds, and the sky 
spread blue and fair. 


Zora was the first up, tlie first out on 
tlie terrace that morning. She was lean- 
ing over the balustrade, reaching down for 
a branch of oleander from the steep bank 
which sloped up from the garden below to 
the terrace above, when a second member of 
the household emerged into the open air. 
Zora heard steps upon the path, but she 
did not turn until Duke Mayburne had 
come close up to her, and broken the 
silence with the original observation, 

'* Good morning, Miss Brown." 

*' Oh ! good morning, Mr. Mayburne," 
said Zora, glancing up sweetly, frankly, in 
her pretty deferential way. 

" Do you want that bough ? Allow 
me," he said, bending over the balustrade 
beside her, and reaching down his long 
strong arm to break off the spray. He 


naturally looked at Iter as he gave it to 
her, and it was not a face for an artist to 
turn his eyes away from in a hurry. 

Zora took the flower with a shy smile of 
thanks, and drew back modestly a step 
further away from Duke, and looked down 
at the shining pink petals of the oleander as 
she observed, 

"Is it dew or rain on it ? It has rained 
in the night, has it not ?'* 

" Yes ; there was rain and wind, and a 
weird moonlight streaming into my room 
that awoke me in the middle of the night, 
and kept me waking till morning, haunted 
by a snatch of an old ballad. Are you ever 
haunted that way by a line of poetry that 
sleeping or waking keeps repeating itself 
in your brain ?" 

*' Sometimes," answered Zora dreamily, 


adding wifh some curiosity, ''But what 
ballad was it ? I liad a book of old ballads 
once, and I was so fond of many of them." 
Duke quoted two lines, looking at her as 
if to test her memory. 

" Late, late yestreen I saw the new moon 
With the old moon in her arms." 

" Ah, Sir Patrick Spens," she responded 
readily. " Oh, I know that one. It was 
the wind and the moonlight made you 
think of that. Do you know one called the 
' Demon Lover ?' " 

*' Yes, I should think so. "Why, that has 
one of the finest stanzas of all the range of 
old ballads — you remember ? 

"The masts that were of the beaten gold 
Bent not on the heaving seas, 
And the sails that were of the taffetas 
Filled not in the eastland breeze." 

Zora brightened with interest ; her eyes 


rose up from the oleander flower and 
flashed one glance at Duke, and then 
looked away beyond him into the blue haze 
over the distant hills, as she took up the 
next stanza. 

"And aye when she turned her round about 
Aye taller he seemed to be, 
Until the topmasts of that gallant ship 
No taller were than he 1" 

'^ Is it not weird and uncanny and some- 
how fascinating ? It was always my 
favourite," she added. 

" Mine too," he said, " but I never can 
help looking on it with a professional eye, 
and regretting that it is so impossible to 

*<"Why?" responded Zora, "could you 
not paint one of those dark stormy seas, 
with the white horses' manes tossing out, 
and a leaden sky piled up with thunder- 


clouds, and a ghostly ship, still and not 
swaying on the waves, and one grey 
shadowy figure standing ; and the woman ? 
let me see, how would you paint the wo- 
man? the only real human figure in the 
picture !" 

" It is easier suggested than done," said 
Duke, *' but if ever I do it, I shall come to 
you for hints." 

Zora was leaning over the balustrade, 
looking up at him, the spray of oleander 
hanging idly in her hand. Duke was 
regarding her with interest and admiration ; 
but there was a respectful distance between 
them, and both had their features and ex- 
pressions scrupulously under control, which 
was fortunate for them, as the next person 
to appear suddenly on the terrace was 
Kate Craven, who would certainly have 


*' chaffed" tliem mercilessly, and probably 
publicly, liad anything in the look or 
manner of either happened to catch her 
volatile attention. 

It was the first time that Duke had ever 
had even the briefest conversation alone 
with Zora ; the experience was decidedly a 
pleasant one, and he wished it to bo 

Nevertheless he would have been either 
indignant or amused, according to his mood, 
and have deemed himself a cruelly mis- 
judged and wrongfully suspected victim, if 
anyone had suggested that there lurked any 
possibilities of disloyalty to Luli in this 
admiration he felt for Zora. It was the 
most natural, simple, probable, harmless 
thing that he should like Zora and find 
pleasure in her company. Could an artist 


deny its due meed of admiration to that 
most lovely face ? could a man lielp feeling 
a kindly sympathy and interest in that fair 
fragile-looking orphan, who seemed to 
stand so alone in the world, and whose life 
appeared to be a course of self -abnegating 
cheerful devotion to the comfort and happi- 
ness of everyone around her. And then the 
few slow or sudden glances he had received 
from those dark eyes were so magical, — so 
surcharged with an electric sympathy that 
placed her en rapport at once with whoever 
«he looked upon — that it was not in the 
nature of mortal man not to wish to meet 
the full gaze of those eyes again. 

Luli liked Zora, and found her a very 
pleasant companion, and was so utterly 
unsuspicious of any danger in Duke's ad- 
miration — purely artistic appreciation, as 


she deemed — of Zora, that she in her inno- 
cent unconsciousness spoke to him of Zora 
in terms more likely to deepen than di- 
minish his interest. 

" Zora is so kind and sweet," she would 
say to him. *' "When I have a headache I 
quite long for her every time I wake. She 
would be just the perfection of a nurse ; 
she moves as softly as a cat ; her voice never 
jars upon you ; her very dress never rustles 
aggressively as those of some people do ; her 
whole influence is so soothing. She is one 
of those rare people whose presence is like 
a sedative to irritable nerves." 

" That is right, darling. I like to know 
that when you are laid up with your head- 
aches you are well taken care of," Duke 
would reply to Luli ; and then add to him- 
self that Zora was certainly a most remark- 


ably attractive girl, and exercised a won- 
derful influence over all who came near 
lier ; and lie would lose himself in conjec- 
tures about Zora's past, and speculations 
as to her future. 

That first tete-a-tete with Zora was not so 
speedily repeated as Duke could have de- 
sired. Opportunities of conversation with 
her, further than their both joining in 
a. general discussion, were easier sought 
than found. It was some days after their 
morning meeting on the terrace that they 
happened to meet alone again, and this 
tioie, too, it was on the terrace. 

It was not morning now, but burning 
noon ; for the midday sun in the early days 
of an Italian October is burning still. The 
white statues gleaming among the green 
foliage looked cool in the sunshine; the 


late lilies spread their waxen petals wide ; 
the last of the oleanders perfumed the air 
with their almond-like scent. On the burn- 
ing white-hot wall a green lizard basked 
with dull black eyes. A large garden- 
tortoise roasted himself peacefully on the 
gravel- walk. Away in the distance, beyond 
the azure line of the lake, the curves of 
purple hills blended softly away into the 
dreamy haze of the intense blue sky. But 
from the moment he caught sight of Zora, 
Duke ceased to take any interest in the 

She was sitting under a tree of white 
fuchsia — that which she had only known as 
a green-house potted plant in London she 
found here a sheltering tree, — with some 
flowers in her hand, as fair a flower as the 
fuchsia-bells which drooped over her, and 


seemed to kiss lier curling hair, as still and 
graceful as the marble Nymph who stood 
with poised marble pitcher, and flowing 
marble drapery beside. The stone Nymph 
was cold and soulless beside that warm 
human loveliness ; the very flower petals 
were not more pure and delicate and 
beautiful than Zora seemed to Duke, as 
he hastened to join her, and disturb her 
dreamy solitude. His eyes lit up with ex- 
pressive pleasure and admiration, that 
proved his words to be no idle compliment, 
as he said — 

" What luck to find you here !" 
Zora looked up, and coloured; and as 
she felt the vivid crimson suffuse her cheek, 
she looked down. Duke, thinking it pos- 
sible that his greeting, all circumstances 
considered, might have been a trifle too 


warm, toned down tlie open admiration of 
his gaze, and added lightly, " Everybody 
else in the establishment is asleep, I 

*' Like the lizard and the tortoise," said 
Zora, glancing from one of the reptiles to 
the other. '' I have been watching them ; 
they look so supremely happy, the cold- 
blooded creatures !" 

Duke sat down on the stone bench in 
the shadow, and took off his hat, and 
pushed the curly hair off his brow, and 
enjoyed the prospect of an uninterrupted 
tete-a-tete with Zora. Zora, on her part, 
also enjoyed the prospect, but timorously 
and nervously, and altogether too keenly for 
her own peace of mind, or that of others. 
Duke Mayburne was certainly, as Kate 
Craven said, " dangerously handsome," and 



Zora, altliougli hev experiences in some de- 
partments of flirtation and romance were 
not very limited, had never happened to 
" look upon his like " hitherto. Indeed, 
the like of that face, after which passing 
strangers turned to gaze, was not often to 
be seen ; and to Zora he seemed " the 
world's one man." 

They talked a little Natural History, 
suggested by Zora's remark about the tor- 
toise ; a little art ; a little about the 
weather; and then Zora observed that 
*' she had left Kate to enjoy a quiet little 

''Miss Craven does not generally like 
you to be away from her, I know. I sup- 
pose she is your dearest friend ?" observed 
Duke, tentatively. 

" My dearest and my best friend," I'e- 
plied Zora. 


*'But you must have many friends ?" lie 
rejoined, reflecting that here was an 
opportunity of possibly learning something 
of Zora s position and prospects from her 
own lips. 

"• Why should you say so ?" she asked, 
lifting her large lustrous brown eyes to his 
with a kind of soft surprise. 

" It is inconceivable that you should not 
have friends both many and true." 

"I have very, very few," she answered, 
with a mournful inflection in her clear low 
voice. ''Very few real friends, that is. 
And 1 need friends more than most people, 
for I have not a relation in the world now." 

They were treading on dangerous ground 
— ground that, if safe for colder natures, 
was dangerous to those two, now and here, 
and they both knew it, but neither could 



now turn back. Zora was not acting; 
there was trutb in her words, her tone, her 
look; but the most skilful actress could 
not have lured a man more temptingly step 
by step towards the lines that mark the 
boundary between loyalty and disloyalty; 
and it was one of those occasions where in 
the histrionic art there lies safety, and in 
the truth and impulse there lurks danger. 

*^ When you count your friends hence- 
forward," said Duke, involuntarily lowering 
his voice, " will you count me as one ? I 
know we have not been acquainted long; 
but I feel as if we had known each other 
for years. Will you not honour me by 
reckoning me amongst your real friends ?" 

" You are very kind," said Zora slowly 
and softly, "but — I dare not accept your 


She shook her head slightly, regretfully, 
as in a reluctant but enforced, negative, as 
she looked up at him with steady sad 
eyes. The dark depths of those dreamy 
eyes were full of mournful yearnings ; and 
in them passion seemed struggling to the 
light, and sorrow quenching passion in a 
mist of unshed tears. Those eyes were 
danger-signals, from which a prudent man 
would have taken warning. They were 
signs that prophesied far differently from 
her words as she told him that she '' dared 
not accept his friendship." 

*' Why not ?" he said earnestly and im- 
petuously. " Because of that old-world de- 
lusion that it is impossible for a friendship 
to exist between man and woman ?" Duke 
knew that the old-world theory of which he 
spoke with such eager scorn was in this 


instance perfectly right. ** Leave the old 
world to say what it will, of what it sees ; 
but what the world does not see it cannot 
talk of, and we are far away from the 
London world here," he went on, with a 
transparent attempt to assume that only 
the world of London would disapprove or 
disbelieve in the friendship he proposed, 
although he did not expect for a moment 
that this assumption would delude her, and 
indeed only put in the clause as a sort 
of concession to conscience. '* Say that 
we are friends !" he finished ; and Zora 
could not resist the warm, half-pleading, 
half-commanding, look of his dark grey 

"We are friends then," she said very 
softly and timidly. 

At this point they were interrupted by 


the siglit of Glencairn and Luli coming 
along the terrace. Both Duke and Zora 
maintained an admirable composure and 
nonchalance, and smiled in greeting to the 
other two with the serenest equanimity ; 
only on Zora's cheek the colour flushed and 

Luli, — who was an enthusiastic and incor- 
rigible lover of all four-footed creatures, 
who picked up stray dogs and relieved 
starving cats, and had not ceased to mourn 
the lamentable loss of Duke's first present, 
the white terrier, Jack, who had been lost, 
and advertised in vain — now appeared 
dragging along by the collar a large St. 
Bernard dog, young, unwieldy, and half- 
grown, who would probably be as big as a 
good-sized donkey when he had attained to 
his full height and strength. 


*'See, what a beauty lie is! he's a real 
St. Bernard. Assunta has just brought 
him to show us in high delight ; her sister 
has received it as a present from a Countess 
somebody. Isn't he a darling ? look afc his 
great paws !" 

Luli held the huge puppy's clumsy 
heavy paw towards Zora's hand ; but Zora, 
usually so ready to respond, drew back a 

"Please don't let it touch me !" she said 
with an apologetic and entreating smile. 
" I can't bear a dog to come near me." 

" No ? how odd ! I am so fond of dogs," 
said Luli, caressing the animal's tawny 
head, but considerately retreating a little 
further from Zora. "Are you afraid of 
them ?" 

''It is very foolish of me, but really I 



*' I will hold him fast ; he is only a pup I 

and I'll tell Assunta to keep him out of 

your way," said Luli reassuringly. 

*' Oh, no, please don't mention it. I 

know it is an absurd nervousness of mine. 

T think I inherit it from my mother ; she 

was bitten by a dog once, and ever after 

she could not bear even the sight of a dog." 

Glencairn turned suddenly and looked at 
Zora with unusual intentness and interest. 

" That is not strange," he said, " though 
it is to a certain extent curious that you 
should have inherited the terror. Was it 
a bad bite ?" he added, after a pause. 

" Yes ; she had a great scar on her wrist 

"And was it in your time — I mean since 
you can recollect ?" he asked. 

" No, oh no ; I only recollect seeing the 
mark of the bite." 


" Nerves and antipathies and hereditary 
instinct are curious things," Glencairn 
observed, half absently, with his odd, pierc- 
ing eyes still fixed upon Zora, and a sort of 
frown contracting his brow. 

" This very natural nervousness of Miss 
Brown's scarcely comes under the head of 
an antipathy," observed Duke, adding con- 
versationally, by way of relieving Zora, 
who he thought looked uncomfortable 
under Glencairn's scrutiny, '* I have heard 
of cases of utterly causeless and inexplica- 
ble antipathies. Now to me a cat is the 
most fascinating of animals; but I have 
known a case of antipathy so strong that 
the lady once fainted away when she was 
taken into a room where there was a cat, 
although the cat was hidden, and nobody, 
not even she herself, knew it was there, 


■until on coming to herself she said, " There 
is a cat here !" They searched the room ;. 
and there, sure enough, hidden in the folds 
of the curtain, was poor Puss curled up 

** That is certainly, as you say, far 
stranger than Miss Brown's nervousness, 
which is quite accounted for by Mrs. 
Brown's having been bitten so badly by a 
dog," said Glencau*n. 

It might perhaps have been Zora's fancy 
that there was a slight sardonic inflection 
in Glencairn's accent as he spoke of her 
mother as *'Mrs. Brown." It might also 
have been Glencairn's fancy that a faint 
change, a shadow of some discomfort, flitted 
momentarily across Zora's face as he so 

That brief conversation had impressed 


deeper in his mind a vague conjecture 
whicli lie had entertained before. Across 
bis mind's eye during those few minutes 
had flashed the picture of a woman, with 
eyes as soft, and dark, and alluring as 
Zora's own, drawing back the sleeve from 
her white arm to show to him a scar upon 
her wrist. It was long ago — a score of 
jears ; but one word of Zora's had roused the 
faded memory into sudden fire. The sus- 
picion he had felt had now grown almost to 
a certainty ; but while it was not quite 
certainty the mystery annoyed him. He 
determined that it should be solved. No 
one of the present party could solve it but 
Zora herself, and whether even she could 
wind off the tangled skein aright was 
another problem. Glencairn, however, re- 
solved that, whatever Zora could tell him, 
he would know. 


With this object he contrived that same 
evening to be Zora's companion in an after- 
dinner walk, and to linger behind the rest 
of the party. Fortune favoured him in 
keeping Kate Craven at an imusual dis- 
tance from her favourite Zora ; and Zora 
herself — although a little shy of Glencairn, 
who, as she had been instinctively con- 
scious from the first, had no liking for her 
— was flattered by his having manifestly 
manoeuvred to get her to walk with him, 
and disposed to make herself even more 
generally amiable than usual. 

Glencairn's aim and object, however^ 
soared beyond pretty words and confiding 
smiles. There was a piece of knowledge 
that she could impart to him which he 
desired to obtain. After very little prelim- 
inary he came straight to his point. 


'' You will think it a liberty in me to ask 
so personal a question ; but may I inquire 
your full name ?" 

" My name ?" slie repeated, a little sur- 
prised. " Mary Zora Brown. I am always 
called by my second Christian name." 

"But as regards your surname. You 
must pardon me for asking whether Brown 
is the name to which you have a legal 
right ?" 

Glencairn put this delicate question re- 
spectfully and courteously enough, but 
with a steadfast resolution of tone that 
showed he intended to be answered. 
Another girl in Zora's place might have 
demanded his right to make the inquiry. 
Zora herself might to any other man have 
replied by a refusal to enter upon the 
affairs of her private history to a stranger. 


But the power to resist either authority or 
persuasion was just the one power wherein 
Zora failed ; the want of it was the radical 
weakness which was the key to her whole 
character. And Glencairn was not a man 
who was easy to put off when he intended 
to be answered. So Zora replied, with 
painful hesitation, in a low voice, 

*' I — I — yes — I have as legal a right to 
the name of Brown as to any other." 

*^As to the name of Penrevis, for in- 
stance ?" 

Zora started, and looked up. 

'' Penrevis !" she repeated. " Mr. Glen- 
cairn ! do you know, then ?" 

She paused, and her inquiring eyes 
searched his face. 

Glencairn did not reply to the hinted 
question, otherwise than by saying after a 
moment's silence, quietly, 


*^ Once in Hyde Park I saw Basil Pen- 
revis's legitimate daughters and his lawful 
widow driving by. Do they know of your 
existence ?" 

^' If you know all, you cannot think that 
I would force my unwelcome existence on 
their notice !" she said proudly. 

" It would probably be useless," he ob- 
served philosophically, " as Penrevis died 
so long ago that I imagine you can scarce- 
ly remember him." 

"I do not remember him at all. But 
who are you who seem to know all about 
me, and whom I thought until now a total 
stranger to me ?" she said wonderingly. 

**I am just what I seem," he replied. 

** / sail under no false colours," she 
rejoined, defending herself against what 
she deemed an implied reproach. " I have 


no more lawful right to any other name 

than to that of the relative whom I called 

aunt, though she was only a distant cousin, 

and who wished me to bear her name of 


"And was that Madeline Mountfort's 
wish too?" inquired Glencairn, with no 
agitation, but speaking with a rather more 
careful and guarded equanimity than usual. 

" I never heard of her offering any ob- 
jection," replied Zora in a very low voice. 
" She is dead, you know. And — and — Mr. 
Glencairn, this subject is very painful to 


" I must apologise for alluding to it," he 
said formally. '' I will not mention it 
again. I — had some slight acquaintance 
with Basil Penrevis, which may account 
for my mentioning it at all." 



"Did you know mucli of him?" she 
asked with something wistful in her tone — 
poor little waif tossed upon the waves of 
the world ! who had never known a father's 
love or a father's care ! 

** No, I knew but little," replied Glencairn, 
as if he had nothing more to say on the 
subject. And nothing more did he say ; 
and Zora, who would fain have questioned 
him in her turn, did not dare. She only 
looked at him with timid entreating in- 
quiry ; but he was unresponsive and cold, 
and would not refer again to the topic. 
He had ascertained what he wanted to 
know, for his own interest, and he was not 
going to dive down into the dark past 
again for hers. 

Glencairn was moody and silent that 
evening, and sat thinking long alone in his 


room at niglit. Dreaming rather than 
thinking. Not pondering ; not planning ; 
not reasoning ; a prey to dark and strange 
fancies which he did not seek to argue 
away ; haunted by foreshadowings of pro- 
bable storm, which he made no project to 
avoid, planned no design to avert, but sat 
gazing gloomily at the spot where he dreamt 
the clouds would gather. 

It seemed to him that it must be a sinister 
fate that had flung this girl across his path. 
For her mother, Madeline Mountfort, was 
the woman who had wrecked the purest 
possibilities and fairest prospects of his life; 
and Basil Penrevis was the man whose name 
the world had coupled with hers some two 
or three years before Glencairn had fallen 
her victim. Of the existence of a child, 
— whom Penrevis, had he lived, perchance 



might have cared for, but who, as things 
were, was probably left, a poor little un- 
acknowledged waif and stray of humanity, 
solitarily free to drift wherever the waves 
might toss it, — Glencairn had once heard 
by a random tale, but until now he had 
never known whether it had lived or died^ 
and had probably forgotten all concerning 
it. He had cut all memories and thoughts 
of Madeline Mountfort adrift from his life 
for ever ; her sorrows and sins were nothing 
more to him ; the news of her death had 
cost him no fresh pain. He had done with 
that past, trampled it down, and buried it 
deep under the dust of years. 

But now the grave seemed to heave and 
stir. Her ghost arose from the tomb. 
Her daughter was here under the same 
roof with him, and the curse of her mother s 


dangerous beauty liad descended upon her. 
Glencairn was misled in his estimate of 
Zora by his memory of her mother. This 
was not unnatural ; he saw the striking 
resemblance of face, the similarity of soft 
alluring looks and accents, and did not see 
that in Zora's real nature her mother had 
little part. Sbe was the true daughter of 
easy-going, good-natured, soft-hearted, 
weak-minded Basil Penrevis. Hers was a 
character made up of impulses and affec- 
tions, quite free from cruelty, treachery, or 
coarseness, and only deceiving where 
timidity and self-preservation impelled her 
to deceive. 

On this night, while Glencairn sat brood- 
ing over his own morbid memories and 
fancies, Zora too sat awake and dreaming 
with open eyes, gazing across the moonlit 


terrace into the purple shadows of the hills. 
Duke had found an opportunity of saying, 
as he bade her good night, 

" Do not forget our compact of friendship. 
We must never be strangers again." 

It was but little of her own history, of 
her own loneliness, of Glencairn or his 
singular conversation with her, that she 
was dreaming now. Duke was the chief 
and central object of her reverie, and all 
other things seemed to revolve round him, 
and had a place in her mind now only in 
relation to him. She envied Luli, not 
maliciously, for malice was not in her, but 
sadly and discontentedly. She envied her 
even her father, for although Zora did not 
like Glencairn, yet she could not fail to see 
that Luli was as the apple of his eye, and 
that to this one creature whom he seemed to 


love he was unselfishly devoted. The in- 
fluence he had over Zora was rather of the 
repellent than the attractive kind, and she, 
although vaguely interested in him, especi- 
ally since their conversation of that even- 
ing, would always prefer his absence to his 
presence, and breathed more freely when 
he was not looking at her. Still she could 
understand that it was possible the very 
influence which repelled her might attract 
others ; and without going so far as to 
hold that any father was better than none, 
she decidedly thought that Luli's destiny 
as Glencairn's daughter was a happier one 
than her own doubly orphaned loneliness. 
Then Luli had Duke Mayburne, her own 
legitimately-plighted and openly-affianced 
lover. And thinking of him, Zora*s eyes 
filled with uncalled-for tears, and the dis- 


tant outlines of the hills wavered and grew 
vague and misty as she gazed on them. 

"He said we would be friends," she 
murmured. "But then, Luli — ah ! Luli is 
a happy girl ! — so happy that she need not 
grudge me his friendship. He said we 
must never be strangers again. No, he 
cannot be a stranger ; he is not a stranger 
to me. Whom have I ever met like him ? 
Why should I deny myself a friend ? — I, 
who have so few ? We will be friends 1" 
And repeating to herself softly " Friends !'* 
she sighed, and the uncalled-for tears 
brimmed over and fell fast, her breast 
heaved with low and stifled sobs, and she 
wept bitterly, who had no cause to weep, 
save that she, " having so few friends," had 
gained another. 

Yet, by a secret instinct, stifled deep 


down in her heart, that foreboded and 
warned in vain, she knew that, had she that 
day made an enemy, she had had less cause 
for weeping. 

<lll I'l***- 





" Alas, how easily things go wrong ! 
A sigh too much or a kiss too long, 
And there follows a mist and a weeping rain, 
And things are never the same again !" 

Mac Donald. 

TN this way, and under the guise of 
friendship, the understanding between 
Duke Mayburne and Zora Brown began, 
an understanding built upon inconstancy 
and disloyalty, and masking itself in false 
colours from the day that it first arose. 
They called themselves *' friends " — friends 
who dared not acknowledge their friend- 
ship, whose every interview was a stolen 
one, whose every look or word together 


was snatched with risk and danger, who 
trod daily on a powder-mine that might 
explode and blow their hollow pretence of 
^'friendship" to the skies in a flash. 

Still hollow and poor as the pretence 
was, and conscious as they both in their 
hearts were of its hollowness, it yet served 
the purpose of a defence, not so much 
against others as against themselves. 
While the name of friendship was kept up 
between them, it was a certain safeguard. 
They needed no other rampart against the 
opinions of others than their own care and 
caution, safely entrenched behind which 
they carried on from day to day an under- 
standing which, innocent enough in itself, 
became a cowardice and a wrong by its 
secrecy and the false assumption on which 
it was founded. 


Prudence and conscience alike held Duke 
Mayburne back from betraying by word or 
look in the presence of others his interest 
in Zora. Prudence showed him clearly 
that it would be madness to allow his 
admiration and interest, warm as they 
were, to lead him into any manifestation 
that might cause a difficulty with the Glen- 
cairns, and possibly bring on a breakage 
of the engagement between himself and 
Luli. Conscience, stronger even than pru- 
dence, told him, in very plain language, 
that he would be a scoundrel if he allowed 
his fickle fancy for a beautiful face to en- 
danger the peace and happiness of the 
pure, true-hearted girl who loved him 
and trusted him. Then his real affection 
for Luli came to the assistance of prudence 
and conscience, stronger, perhaps, than 


either. He could not help being fascinated 
bj Zora ; he could not resist her influence ; 
but he loved Luli very dearly ; and Luli 
was to be his wife ; and he honestly meant 
to be true to her, and to keep his friend- 
ship with Zora strictly within friendly 

This secret flirtation miscalled friend- 
ship was all the more dangerous because 
Duke was not by habit or nature one of the 
wolves known as male flirts ; he did not 
belong to the tribe whose easily trans- 
ferred attentions are always rendering 
some one woman or another conspicuous, 
who are perpetually playing the role of 
lover, treasuring a golden tress to-day and 
a dark one to-morrow. All men, from boy- 
hood to old age, all artists especially, are 
flirts to the extent of preferring a fair young 


face to a middle-aged plain one, liking to 
dance with the girl who has the lightest 
step, and talk to the girl who listens with 
the most responsive eyes, and when an at- 
tractive partner for the dance or for conver- 
sation, is found, being in no hurry to quit 
her side. Duke was no more than this. His 
fancy, though it roved now from his true 
love, was not an errant fancy as a rule ; and 
this its first wandering was thus more peril- 
ous. He had hitherto played very lightly 
the game of flirtation, and had never burnt 
his fingers yet. But the fire burning now 
was one that was dangerous to play with ; 
and he knew it, and yet hovered around it, 
nearer and nearer ; and could not withdraw 
himself from the light that allured and 

If he was enthralled against his will by 



Zora, she was eqully enthralled by him, 
and she found it as impossible to repel his 
influence as he to resist hers. For her 
perhaps there was more excuse to be made 
than for him, for she was free, and he was 
plighted ; and whereas he was disloyal, she 
only permitted and passively countenanced 
his disloyalty. Zora was a creature of im- 
pulses, not of principles. Her impulses 
were generally good; but had an evil 
impulse assailed her, there was no principle 
in her nature that would have risen armed 
to defy it. She could make resolutions, 
but not keep them ; she could see that 
certain faults were black and ugly, and 
certain virtues fair and beautiful ; but she 
was very likely to mistake a picturesquely 
dressed and gracefully draped fault for a 
virtue ; and had no clear sense of right or 


Tvrong beyond tlie perception of ugliness in 
bare and unveiled sins, and of beauty in 
virtues of a self-evident and attractive 
kind. There was a great deal of good in 
Zora, nothing that was evil, and much that 
was weak. Her facile, yielding, sympa- 
thetic nature caught the tone of those she 
loved, in their heroisms as well as in their 
failings ; and had Duke been as strong as 
he was clear-sighted, and as resolute to 
draw back from this hazardous secret bond 
of friendship as he was conscious of its risk 
and its wrong, it is probable that Zora 
would have risen to the occasion, would 
have drawn from him the strength to part 
from him, and would have broken free from 
the perilously sweet friendship which was 
winding them in meshes day by day more 
difficult to break. 



But under its present poor pretence, 
under the flimsy veil so thinly disguising 
its true colours, it could not last. It did 
not last. The October moon had been in its 
early crescent when the compact of so-called 
friendship was entered into ; the October 
moon was barely at its full when the veil 
was suddenly torn down and the tattered 
last rags and fragments of it cast away. 

They were in the garden togetner, they 
two alone. 

Kate and Luli had overwalked them- 
selves on a long ramble that day, and were 
in the house resting. Mr. and Mrs. 
Craven and Glencairn, who were not tired, 
had gone out on an evening stroll. Duke 
was supposed also to be out on a solitary 
peregrination in the environs of the Villa, 
but, while Zora was in the garden, he did 


not care to extend his explorations beyond 
the garden-paths. 

They were sitting under an acacia tree 
at some distance from the terrace; and it 
happened that some turn of the conversa- 
tion on poetry led Duke to quote the well- 
known lines of Lovelace's, — lines applica- 
ble enough in some moods of his to himself, 
to the self that he might have been and 
ought to have been, rather than to the self 
he was, — lines which as he spoke them 
aloud to Zora shot through him, with a 
painful thrill, the sense of contrast between 
what he would be and what Nature or Fate 
had made him. 

" Yet this inconstancy is such 
As thou too shalt adore ; 
1 could not love thee, dear, so much, 
Loved I not Honour more !" 

For a moment they were both silent, 


struck with the same thought, dreaming 
both with a momentary impulse that they 
could be strong enough for honour s sake 
to shake hands and part, and let this de- 
lightful dangerous friendship drop for ever. 
But from that moment's impulse, the back- 
wave of a stronger reaction came upon 
Duke and carried him away. He saw 
Zora's lovely lips quiver, and her dark eyes 
droop; he forgot all but her, and spoke 
impetuously his first words of open dis- 
loyalty to his betrothed. 

" Zora, it is not true ! I do not love 
honour better than you — I love you more 
than honour. Why did we meet so late ?" 

** Why did we ever meet at all ?" mur- 
mured Zora, in tremulous tones of deep 

" Are you sorry we have met ?" he whis- 


pered, with a sort of passionate defiance of 
control, a desperate flinging away of all 
scruples as to fidelity and loyalty, although 
he felt he flung away the stronger and 
better part of his nature with them. 

" Yes — I am sorry — it is only pain," she 
begau falteringly, agitatedly, and paused 
with a little sobbing breath, as if tears took 
her Yoice away. 

" If you are sorry — if it is only pain," 
he said, repeating her words gloomily, and 
drawing back the arm which he had flung 
round her waist. Zora's breast heaved ; 
she breathed short and brokenly, and then 
turring to him with a flash of passion in 
her look and tone that broke startlingly 
through her habitual dreamy, timid soft- 
ness, she said, 

'* I am not sorry ! I can never be sorry ! 


I liave been happy — come wliat may !" 
Duke had never kissed her hitherto ; but 

now her lovely face was upturned to his ; 

her tempting perfect lips so near to lis ! 

— In that first long kiss Luli was forgotten, 
and Zora was all the world. 

Friendship was never more mentioned 
between Duke and Zora ; that fragile bar- 
rier was down for ever. Duke was fast 
in the nets of the enchantress now ; yet 
it would scarcely be true to say thab his 
love for Luli had given place to his lo^e for 
Zora. The new love had not slain the 
old ; the old love strove and would not 
yield ; but his heart was now a battle-field 
where two loves struggled in perpetual con- 
flict, where once one love, purer, truer, 
more ennobling than this its rival passion, 
had reigned alone. 


It must be said, not in justification, but 
in excuse, of Zora, that she did not attempt 
to avail herself of her influence over Duke 
to induce him to dissolve, or provoke a 
dissolution, of his engagement to Luli. She 
would have shrunk from openly robbing 
Luli of her happiness in the present and 
her hopes of the future, although she daily 
stole from her some portion of the love 
that should have been lavished on Luli un- 
divided. Zora was alone in the world, and 
penniless; her only probable chance of 
happiness and independence was in mar- 
riage; and she loved Duke. There was 
some temptation in all these circumstances 
to lead her to endeavour to separate Duke 
and Luli. and seek to become his wife her- 

But this temptation did not assail her 


strongly. There was an ugly aspect of 
treachery and cruelty in the idea that 
repelled her. She knew that Luli loved 
Duke, and that her own clear duty was to 
break off her clandestine acquaintance with 
him at once, and leave him to return to 
his original allegiance, as, if left alone, he 
probably would do. She was not strong 
enough for this ; but she could not coolly 
contemplate robbing Luli entirely, abso- 
lutely, and for ever, of the lover whom 
she saw, with self-reproachful pain, that 
Luli trustfully and blindly loved. She in- 
tended one day to part from him, and 
then his whole heart would return to his 
lawful, plighted love, and they two would 
marry and be happy, and she would live 
lonely, and treasure the memory of Duke, 
and probably die an old maid, if she did not 


break her heart for Duke before. This was 
Zora s idea ; her plans for the future went 
no further than parting from Duke ^' one 
day," and mourning him all her life. But 
that "one day" — when would it come? 
How far off in the future was the day 
when they were to say good-bye? Not 
yet — not just yet. Day after day she 
would say "Not yet," until it should be 
too late, perhaps. 

Meanwhile, their mutual love was so 
well concealed that only one person enter- 
tained the slightest suspicion of it. If 
Luli ever fancied that Duke seemed absent, 
or cold, or fitful in his moods, she was far 
from attributing the real reason to ifc. If 
she ever wished that she had Duke "all to 
herself," and that Zora and Kate were not 
so frequently drawn into their group, she- 


crushed the thought down as a piece of 
silly, frivolous jealousy, alike unworthy of 
her and her idol, who must on no account 
be suspected or found fault with. And 
Duke, through his very self-reproach, and 
the consciousness that he was wronging 
his confiding and unsuspicious betrothed, 
was by turns very affectionate to her, or 
rather silent and absent. When he was 
affectionate, she adored him. When he 
was silent, she imagined he was tired or 
unwell, and petted him unobtrusively and 
quietly, and adored him even more. 

The one person who suspected that 
Duke and Zora felt more interest in each 
other than was compatible with loyalty 
to Luli, was Lull's father. And he sus- 
pected it more because Zora was her 
mother's daughter — because she was so 


like that mother, because he fancied he 
traced in her an hereditary tendency to allure 
and betray, than for any other reason. 
Duke and Zora were so cautious in their 
manners, met so rarely and so carefully, 
that it was not by reason, but by instinct, 
that Glencairn suspected their interest ; and 
not through shrewdness of perception, but 
through superstition, that he trusted his 
own instinct, and watched and waited, 
but said no word. Then, too, it was not so 
much the present as the future that he 
dreaded, and dreaded in it not so much the 
allurements of a woman or the weakness 
of a man as the working^s of Fate. 

His was the perilous tendency to " let 
things drift," not through idleness or 
weakness, but through a gloomy, passive 
fatalism, to allow the waves to bear him 


wherever they would, to fold his hands 
and watch without striving to combat the 
"brooding storm, to laugh at the efforts of 
those who struggle to avoid their destiny, 
i:o deem all such struggles vain, and to 
yield a sullen and savagely stoical acquies- 
cence to every decree of Fate. Yet against 
this sullen submission a strange, reckless, 
wild, uncontrollable spirit sometimes rose ; 
and in the eddy of these two opposing 
-currents Qlencairn was often in peril of 
driving to shipwreck between the Charyb- 
■dis of a morbid apathy and the Scylla of 
misdirected action. 

He was never very equable in his 
moods, and did not appear more moody 
than usual now. Zora always felt uneasy 
in his presence ; and, being in self-defence 
compelled to deceive, as she was, she 


could misrepresent and conceal and phrase 
falsehoods to all the world beside, more 
easily and serenely than she could utter 
the smallest evasion to Glencairn. 

" You don't like Glencairn, Zora, I see," 
said Kate confidentially one day. 

'* No, I do not care much for him, dear," 
admitted Zora. 

'' Well, now, I like him," continued Kate. 
^' But, upon my word, I am more than 
half afraid of him. If he were to tell me 
to jump into the lake and swim across, I 
shouldn't like to refuse him. Scratch the 
Russian, you know, and you find the Tartar. 
That always reminds me of Glencairn ; if 
you were to scratch his surface civilisation, 
you would find the savage. I hope he'll 
never want to marry any unlucky woman 
who doesn't like him ; for I believe if he 


fixed his eyes upon her and commanded 
lier to accept him, the poor thing would be 
bound to say meekly * Yes.' Thank 
goodness, he'll never want to marry you or 
me, Zora. But why don't you like him ?" 

" I never could bear people with eyes of 
different colours," said Zora. *' When Mr. 
Glencairn fixes his one light grey eye and 
his one dark brown eye upon me, it fairly 
makes me shudder." 

'' Oh, you are a funny girl, Zora ! not 
daring to touch a poor harmless honest 
dog ! and to find anything to shudder at in 
my dear old Glencairn, Tartar as he is !" 

Duke also expressed to Zora his opinion 
of Glencairn. 

'^ I regard him in some lights as a fine 
specimen of the Noble Savage," he said. 
** All the ordinary principles of civilised 


morality, the codes of modern society, do 
not exist for him. Other men have studied 
such principles, and flung them aside ; have 
been once bound by orthodox rules, and 
broken free from them. But Glencairn has 
never broken free, for he has never 
been bound; he has looked on at other 
men's codes and principles, has seen the 
standards of society, but has never flung 
them aside because he has never belonged 
to them. He lives in a world of his own, 
a world far behind and apart from the 
present age ; a grand old fellow in some 
points, but weaker than a civilised child in 
his superstitions. He is strangely different 

from " 

Duke broke off, with a sudden cloud 
upon his face. He had never mentioned 
Lull's name to Zora, and felt horribly 



guilty as that name had nearly fallen from 
his lips now ; and Zora, with ready tact, 
hastened to change the subject. 

These two were not " hardened sinners " 
by any means. On the surface of their 
thoughts, they might have alleged to them- 
selves, — not to each other, for to each other 
they never spoke directly of her — ^but in self- 
communions they might have alleged that 
their harmless flirtation and romance was 
no real wrong to Luli. In the self-defence 
of each heart to its own conscience, they 
might each have pleaded that what she 
did not know could be no pain nor grief 
to her, and that " it would end some day." 
But to the depths of their souls these light 
and hollow pleas never sank. In those 
depths, below the frothy bubbles of self- 
defence and self-excuse that rose upon the 


surface, tliey knew tlieir wrong to her who 
knew it not. 

Zora hated to be alone with Luli, or to 
meet the clear steady look of Luli's trustful 
confiding eyes ; and Duke one day packed 
away in the most out-of-the-way corner of 
his baggage, in haste and anger as if he 

could pack away scruples out of his con- 
science too, his favourite volume of 
" Jason," because each time he opened it 
the pages, as if in malice and warning, 
would part at the words, 

" O wavering traitor ! still unsatisfied ! 
O false betrayer of the love so tried !" 

and the passages that follow seemed full of 
foreboding. And sometimes when he look- 
ed in Zora's enchanting and alluring eyes, 
it seemed to him that the story of Jason 
was reversed, and that it was Medea the 



sorceress who was luring him away from 
Glauce, the guileless and the pure. 

Lull had no suspicions of her lover s in- 
constancy, no idea that the oft-told tale was 
being enacted again. She was unsuspicious, 
not on account either of the sluggishness of 
instinct rising from lack of heart, or of the 
dulness of perception springing from luke- 
warmness of love, but because she had not 
studied human nature enough to learn to 
doubt it. In that hard school where, the 
later we begin to learn, the more bitter the 
fruit of the tree of knowledge tastes, Luli 
was a beginner who had barely learnt the 

The fact that constancy is not of neces- 
sity a component part of a nature passion- 
ate and affectionate, nay, even of a nature 
tender and sincere, had not been forced 


upon her knowledge. She was in the fresh 
morning faith which never doubts that that 
which is sincere must be enduring, that the 
passion genuine at Christmas will still exist 
genuine in June. 

Of the innate changeability of some 
natures that yet are affectionate and sincere, 
of the self-evident truth that the secret of 
fidelity lies less in the merit of the beloved 
than in the temperament of the loving, and 
that the words of love which rang so true 
at first may come to fall with a false and 
hollow jar upon the ear, — she was ignorant 
as a child as yet. 

She ignored these things naturally and 
simply through blind belief, and not wil- 
fully through cowardice. 

Some of us are blind through cowardice ; 
some of us, perhaps those most physically 


brave, even most intellectually daring, are 
moral cowards before tbat one truth. 

We dare not uncover the face of our 
dead affections. We dare not brave the 
fact that Love is dead, nor face the death 
of Love with regretful but unquailing eyes. 
We cannot do it. We hurry Love into its 
grave, and heap the earth high over it, and 
pretend that it never existed ; we burn all 
relics of it ; we turn our eyes away from 
it, and wince if a rude hand (rude and 
harsh as pure maiden Truth, unwed to 
Mercy, must ever seem to us), bursts open 
the grave, and bids us look upon the 
coffined love, and remember that it lived. 

Or else, in another and a commoner form 
of weakness, a weakness of more tender 
and amiable natures, we, still unable to 
face the fact that Love is dead, pretend 


that it has never died. TVe clothe the dead 
in the garments of every day , we keep it 
^' in its habit as it lived;" and ignore its 
death in blindness as wilful as those others 
who ignore that it ever existed. 



" Ah, take the season and have done ! 
Love well the hour and let it go !" 


npHE four younger members of tlie party 
are rambling along the shore of the 
lake, Duke and Luli walking first, Kate 
and Zora following — Zora lingering dis- 
creetly, and engaging Kate in conversation. 

Zora is so full of tact and delicacy, plays 
a third on occasion so beautifully, every- 
body says. 

The day is wearing on towards evening ; 
the sun declining from the zenith burns 
larger, brighter, intenser as he sinks down 


the western path. The sky has the divine 
Italian depth, wherein the gaze loses itself 
in immeasurable, unrealisable, unimaginable 
distances of deepening blue ; the lake re- 
flects the azure of the sky, the dusk of the 
sloping heights, the green of the bending 
trees, as in a mirror under a rippling veil, 
that waves the outlines softly, and tones^ 
the colours down. 

On the yellow shore two or three boats 
are pulled up ; under their keels the water 
is lapping in tiny transparent ripples on 
the rounded shining pebbles. A red flag 
droops at the mast of one of the boats, 
faintly fluttering in the light breeze that 
blows down from the hills. 

" What say you to a row, Luli ?" observes 
Duke, pausing by the boat with the flying 


" It would be delightful !" she replies, 
thinking, nevertheless, deep down in her 
inmost heart, that it would be even more 
delightful if they two were alone. 

'^What do you say, Miss Craven? Let 
us collect votes," continues Duke, looking 
iDack to Kate and Zora, who were now 
coming up with them. 

" Yes, by all means !" cries Kate ; "it 
seems the correct thing here to go for a 
row on every possible opportunity. What's 
the good of a lake if we don t row on it ? 
Let us go." 

Zora gives no vote, but it is a matter of 
course that whatever pleases the rest of 
the party will please Zora. So the boat- 
man is summoned, and the hire of the 
boat is arranged ; but at this stage of the 
proceedings Kate suddenly turns a look of 


alarm on Lull's attire, and exclaims posi- 
tively — 

" We sliall all get into hot water if Luli 
goes on the lake at this time of day with- 
out any shawl. I would not face the irate 
father on any consideration if we let her 
do it." 

Duke is not delighted at this reminder ; 
but he disguises his impulse of impatience 
admirably, and it looks like only a lover s 
natural anxiety and reproach as he says — 

*' Really, Luli, it is too bad of you to 
come out so thinly clad these Autumn 

*' Nonsense ! nonsense !" replies Luli, 
lightly and hurriedly, hating to be made a 
fuss over. " I shan't be cold. Come 
along !" and she hastens to step into the 


*' Will you wait five minutes for me?" 
exclaims Zora, eagerly. " Do, please ! 
I'll be back in about five minutes. And it 
would spoil all our pleasure if you cauglit 
cold." And away Zora runs up the path 
towards the villa, light-footed as a deer, Lull 
remonstrating and endeavouring to detain 
her, Kate nodding approvingly after Zora, 
and in her turn detaining Luli, who seems 
desirous of giving chase. 

^' Zora runs about six times as fast as 
you do," Kate observes, philosophically, 
**and she will be back before you had got 
panting up to the terrace." 

Luli glances at Duke, and perceives in- 
tuitively that something has vexed him — 
she knows not what. She would rather 
face the bitterest north-easter that ever 
blew, at the risk of coughing herself into 


a consumption, than vex him; and a 
distressed flush suffuses her cheek. 

" Shall we walk on a little further, Duke ? 
or would you like to take our places in the 
boat ?" she asks, looking up at him brightly, 
propitiatingly, with a half -timid smile. 

" Or would your Majesty graciously 
please to repose on that bank ? or what 
can your humble servants do to amuse your 
most Imperial Highness during these 
tedious five minutes of waiting ?" exclaims 
Kate gaily, in her clear, high voice, clasp- 
ing her hands with a burlesque humility 
and anxiety. 

Duke smiles his usual frank, bright 
smile, as the little cloud of annoyance melts 
away ; and from Luli's face the reflected 
shadow passes in an instant. 

*' As a last resource when the time hangs 


too heavy, we might try a round of kiss-in- 
the-ring," he suggests. 

" With the laudable view of astonishing 
the natives," observes Luli, merrily, glanc- 
ing at a group of Italians near, who return 
the compliment by staring hard at the 
English trio. " Duke's chief notion is al- 
ways to astonish the natives in some way." 

*^ Except at Etretat, where the natives 
used to astonish us. Do you remember 
our fat friend, who always bounded so high 
in the Ronde T remarks Duke. 

" I always used to yearn in my heart to 
join the circle," she replies, smiling happily 
at the reminiscence. 

Zora soon returns, too much out of 
breath with her run to speak, but her sweet 
face radiant with its sweetest smile as she 
hands Luli a scarlet shawl. 


'' I brought it to matcli the flag of the 
boat," she says, as soon as she recovers her 
speech, and proceeds to deprecate Lull's 
thanks, and fold the shawl about her 

''You are too good, Zora; I wish you 
would not spoil me so ! I seem to be 
always taking advantage of your kindness 
in some way," Luli responds affectionately ; 
and Zora, always modest and sensitive, 
blushes at the compliment. 

They settle themselves in the boat, and 
push off at last. Duke, who is not exempt 
from the besetting weakness of the nine- 
teenth-century Englishman, takes out his 
fusee-box and lights a cigar. The boatman is 
picturesque in a loose snow-white blouse, left 
open across his brown chest; he has a brown 
handsome face, from which his vivid black 


Italian eyes flash up beneath arched brows. 

"Every Italian looks to me like the 
wicked hero of a novel," observes Kate, re- 
garding him with an air of impartial criti- 
cism. "The good heroes are blond. lam 
not complimenting the present company !" 
she adds, turning to Duke, "for you are 
not half blond enough." 

"Tm sorry you don't consider me fair 
enough to be virtuous. It's some comfort 
to reflect that you don't think me quite 
dark enough to be wicked." 

"Do you think he strikes the happy 
medium, Kate ? between too insipid virtue 
and too pictureque vice ?" inquires Luli. 

Duke feels an uncomfortable secret con- 
sciousness that this random shaft probably 
hits the bull's eye. 

" I don't like happy mediums ; and I de- 


cidedly prefer picturesque vice to insipid 
virtue," asserts Kate, boldly. 

"Well, Miss Craven, I will try and 
satisfy you ! What shall be my first crime ?'* 
responds Duke. 

The idea occurs both to Luli and Zora 
that if personal attractions were likely to 
weigh with an enlightened jury, and more 
especially if that jury were formed of the 
fairer sex, Duke would stand a very good 
chance of acquittal on most indictments 
possible to be brought against him. He 
is as perfect a picture in his style as 
the brown-faced boatman is in an opposite 
one. The girls too are looking very 
pretty, one and all, to-day; and the con- 
trast between the two blue-eyed blondes 
and Zora's warm darkness of hair and 
eyes serves rather to heighten each beauty 



than to throw any one into an eclipse. 
It is daylight, though the sun is near his 
setting ; the warmer, mellower raySy pre- 
ceding sunset are still so bright, the water 
so clear and calm, that they can count the 
fishes that dart aside, swift and silent like 
sinuous shadows, as the boat glides along. 
Other pleasure-boats are out at this place 
and hour ; a boat full of pale pretty 
American girls whose clear laugh rings out 
over the water ; a boat full of Italian gen- 
tlemen, who are evidently acquainted with 
the American party, and who can boast as 
much acquaintance also with the English 
party as is constituted by one meeting in 
Como Cathedral. These gentlemen bow 
gracefully, and are evidently for a time 
divided between the two attractions of 
Transatlantic and Saxon beauty; eventu- 


ally the former wins the day, and the 
Italian boat glides quickly in the wake 
of the American boat, which first coquet- 
tishly shoots ahead, and then relentingly 
rests on its oars. 

^' Thank goodness those fellows have 
made their choice !" ejaculates Duke, 
knocking the ash off his cigar with lazy 
satisfaction. "I was afraid the attractions 
of the ' blondes Anglaises ' would be too 
much for them." 

The sun is sinking lower ; a redder light 
beams over the western hills ; the forms of 
the little fish darting through the trans- 
parent water are growing more shadowy, 
more difficult to number or define. 

" Sing to us, Luli," says Duke, arrang- 
ing himself more comfortably on his 

cushions ; " it is just the hour for music." 

i\i 2 


" What shall I sing ?" she responds 


"Some of my old favourite ballads. 

You know what I like." 

" I ought to know by this time," replies 
Luli with a glad peaceful smile. 

So she sings the delicious old ballad of 
" Greensleeves," and follows it up with 

" Since first I saw your face I resolved 
To honour and renown you." 

Her voice is of no remarkable quality, 
but clear, sweet, and flexible ; and there is 
something of fresh simplicity in her accent 
and style that suits well with the simple 
ballads she sings. There is a sympathetic 
quality in her voice, as in all her nature ; 
and she lingers with a dreamy sadness on 
the lines, 

» What ? I that loved and you that liked ! 
Shall we begin to wrangle ?" 


a sadness tliat is only dreamy and not 
bitter, because tbe sentiment does not come 
liome to ber at all. Will it ever strike 
bome to ber beart ? To most mortal bearts 
it strikes bome some day witb a blow only 
too sure and true. 

*' I that loved and you that liked !" 

It is tbe beart -bis tory of balf tbe world. 

Duke's eyes reluctantly, covertly seek 
Zora's face, and fix tbere in spite of bis wilh 

How lovely sbe looks in tbe warm golden 
baze of tbe sunset ligbt, drooping languid- 
ly, gracefully as tbe dew-laden cup of a 
garden lily, against tbe red cusbions piled 
at tbe side of tbe boat, one band trailing in 
tbe water, ber eyes fixed on Luli witb 
sometbing of tbe same reluctant yet fixed 
and fascinated look tbat Duke turns upon 


She is listening to Luli's fresh, clear 
voice, looking on Luli's calm, fair face, 
with a strange stir and tumult at her heart 
that is in contrast with the serenity of the 
closing day and the cloudless sky and the 
peaceful lake wherein the oars dip softly 
and slowly now. Music and sunset and 
beauty affect her impressionable nature ; 
they seem to throw a light into the inmost 
places of her heart, bring out each secret 
and confused and latent feeling vivid and 
distinct, mingled and yet conflicting as they 

She sees Duke and Luli, together, be- 
longing to each other, as they were when 
she saw them first, and wonders if she has 
come between them now, or if this is the 
reality, and his fancy for her the dream ? 
The thought that she has stolen unsus- 


pected between those two stabs her with 
an unavailing and fruitless self-reproach ; 
the doubt whether after all this new ro- 
mance will not melt away like a snow-flake 
from his heart under the unquenched 
steady light of the old love, wounds her yet 
deeper with the keen knife of jealousy. 
Then as she is conscious of his gaze, con- 
scious, though her eyes never turn towards 
him, of the expression with which his fix 
on her, a flutter of the vanity that lies at 
the root of all women's cruelty to each 
other, stirs her spirit with a delight that 
yet dares not triumph. The instinct of 
rivalry, the universal woman's instinct, 
evil in its elementary form, evil in its sub- 
tle developments, which yet because it is so 
universal we all strive to veil in the fairest 
drapery, arises in her. It is all there is of 

■^M. 1m,^.M. . 


evil in her nature ; and from it she, being 
the fair and fragile and feminine creature 
she is, could not have been exempted. 

When Kate inquires, in a casual way, 
*' Do you ever sing now, Zora ?" she 
answers, softly, '' Not often ; but I do try 

" I did not know you sang ; do sing. 
Miss Brown," entreats Duke, courteously, 
but being careful not to seem too eager. 

Kate and Luli echo the request. "But did 
not the doctor forbid you to sing ?" adds 
Kate, with an after-thought. 

" To exert my voice at all, yes ; but one 
song does not exert it, and I often sing a 

" Sing that old song of yours, that begins 
like this ; the unpublished song Mr. Glen- 
cairn was asking about," demands Kate, 


tumming the opening bars of tlie melody. 
And Zora sings tlie requested song. 


O golden aureole of hair ! 

O passionless pale face ! 
From out the darkening shadows there 

Thine image shines apace, 
And in these moonlit waters fair 

Thy shadowy ghost I trace. 

'Tis where the rosy sea-flower blows, 

The strange fish curve and slide, 
Where the deep-sea coral grows 

Beneath all wave or tide, 
The gold hair's gold untarnished flows 

The flowing weed beside. 

What day shall all the dead arise 
Those moonlit waves closed o'er ? 

When shall my dead who with them lies 
Come live and love once more ? 

What hour shall to these exiled eyes 
Their lost — their home restore ? 

The melody is sweet and sad and simple, 
with no unexpected turns or trills, but 
here and there the surprise of a minor note 
— a melody which sounds easy to catch, but 


to whicli it is difficult to do justice ; there is 
a rhythmical swing like that of the sea- 
waves in it. Zora's voice, expression, and 
style do justice to it. Her voice would be 
as striking a charm as her face were it 
only a little stronger, or had she the physi- 
cal strength to exert it to its full power. 
It has a rich rare sweetness, warm and 
southern as her eyes ; not the sweetness of 
the early violets and the late primroses 
that nestle in the English hedge-rows in 
April, but the sweetness of the southern 
flowers whose rich and balmy scent loads 
the Italian air in sultry August. There is 
a tender thrill, a passionate tremolo in 
those low, soft contralto tones, which 
pushed to an extreme might become a 
fault, but as it is only adds a charm. 
Kate and Luli become enthusiastic in their 


approbation of her voice and her song ; the 
one suits the other so perfectly, they de- 
clare. " And what a pity that she must not 
sing often or much !" Duke says only, with 
formal politeness, ** Thank you ; a very 
pretty melody ;" but Zora meets his look 
full for one brief moment, and needs no 
word of compliment, and her heart throbs 
and flutters so that she knows she could 
sing no more. 

The twilight is veiling the more distant 
outlines of wood and mountain ; the pure 
azure of the sky blends into pale gold, and 
deepens into burning crimson behind the 
western hills. They are rowing homewards 
now, and Kate has told the boatman to go 
''''andante."' (Kate borrows most of her 
Italian directions as regards progress from 
music-books, and frequently desires the 


■coacliman to drive allegretto.) One more 
song is called for, and Luli sings one of 
Moore's melodies; and then the latent 
patriotism of the Briton asserts itself in all 
the quartette, and thej strike up "God 
save the Queen " in chorus, kindly conde- 
scending to inform the boatman that it is 
their national air. The boatman is well 
-aware of the fact, but he receives the inti- 
mation with a smile and a compliment. 
The boat-load of Americans coasting along 
the opposite shore are apparently moved by 
the strains that reach their ears to a rival 
.assertion of patriotism, for " The Star- 
Spangled Banner " bursts out in full chorus 
almost before the last notes of the British 
ranthem have died away. 

They are back at their landing-place 
•only too soon ; and standing on the shore 


they find Glencairn waiting for them — tall 
and dark, and grim and silent, like an 
ominous shadow he seems to Zora, while 
Lnli springs to him with a glad and loving 

Zora dreads his grave penetrating eyes ^ 
she pales and blushes beneath them, and 
always fears that they will read her heart. 
She is the last to land, and as Duke helps 
her to step on shore, he finds a chance of 
whispering to her as he holds her hand, 

" Why have you never sung to me be- 
fore ? Your voice is echoing in my ear 

Kate's rhapsody to Glencairn about their 
'lovely row" covers the whisper, and the 
sunset covers Zora's blush ; for the parting 
rays of the western light are flooded with, 
the last lurid warmth of the orb of " far- 


off fading fire," and flush the fair cheek 
they rest upon with an added glow. 

They walk up towards the villa together 
sociably, and sit down on the terrace to 
admire the last of the sunset, and to wait 
for Mr. and Mrs. Craven. 

" It was so lovely on the lake to-night, 
papa," observes Luli ; *' I do wish you had 
laeen with us !" 

Zora cannot echo this wish, but she 
smiles at Glencairn in a modest, propitia- 
tory way. He does not respond to the 
smile ; he has a certain mistrust of Zora 

" Do you remember our upset on the 
Thames?" asks Duke, who is lazily count- 
ing over the contents of his cigar-case, and 
lounging comfortably back on a big stone 


*^ I am not likely to forget it, tliougli I 
should not tliink that yoa could remember 
much about it. You did not see yourself 
being hauled up the bank," rejoins Luli, 
lightly, but only lightly, to prevent herself 
from plunging over head and ears into 
memories of frantic terror and fervent grati- 
tude and generally romantic reminiscences. 

" No, I hadn't the treat of that spectacle. 
My recollections of the event are chiefly of 
brandy and blankets. I have had an aver- 
sion from brandy ever since." 

'' How I wish I had been there ! I do 
love adventures ! What fun it must have 
been !" exclaims Kate. 

" Well, I suppose there was a good deal 
of fun in it," admits Duke, but with some 
demur, as he chooses and picks out the 
fattest cigar at last. " But it would have 


turned out the verjlast joke I should have 
had any opportunity of enjoying, if it had 
not been for Glencairn." 

" You were a good weight to pull up, 
certainly," Glencairn observes. Then he 
adds to himself, in his heart, but with one 
momentary glance that would have half ex- 
pressed his thought, had any one of the 
party been observing his face, 

" Sometimes I think the day may come 
when I shall wish to God that I had left 
you at the bottom of the river ! " 



"Oh I have gotten two hounds, fair knight, 

The one has served me weel, 
But the other just an hour agone 

Has come from oversea, 
And all his fell is sleek and fine 

But httle he knows of me ! 
Now which shall I let go, fair knight, 

And wliich shall bide with me ?" 


A LTH0U6H tlie moon was now past 
her full, she was still the golden 
glory of the Italian night. The evening 
of that pleasure-row on the lake of Como 
was over ; the latest warmth of the sunset 
had long ago faded away ; the stars, one 
by one, had stolen out until the sky was 



all a-bloom with them from horizon to 
horizon. Then when the silence of a calm 
Autumn midnight had sunk down softly 
over all the land, and even the trees 
scarcely whispered in their sleep, the pale 
rays of the moon began to creep through 
the still branches and trace bright lines 
across the marble terrace and touch with 
faint fair light the half-hidden statues. 

Zora was at her window, wakeful, rest- 
less ; she had drawn aside the curtain, and 
regardless that the time was flying and the 
candle flickering lower and lower, sat gaz- 
ing out into the night. 

The night was so still and serene, it 
seemed to calm and tranquillise her heart ; 
the cool soft air was as balm to her brow 
as she sat there, lost in a waking dream, 
wondering, — how long ago was it that she 


came here ? liow long since slie saw Duke 
Mayburne first? 

He filled the scope of her life so com- 
pletely now that it was strange and impos- 
sible to realise that half a year ago she had 
not known him, that a month ago he was 
nothing to her but " Miss Glencairn's 
jiancer Her heart had lain still as a dark 
sealed fountain, until under his look the 
seal had melted, broken, and the prisoned 
power burst forth in its unrestrained, un- 
guided passion. It seemed to have sprung 
so quickly, arisen so suddenly, yet since it 
arose it seemed an eternity. Was it only 
a week, but barely a week ago since, in the 
garden in the shadow of the acacia trees, 
he had spoken his first words of open love 
to her, and forgotten his allegiance in their 

first kiss ? Between that hour and now, 



there seemed to lie a life-time of hope and 
terror, of joy and sorrow, and of bitter, 
bitter, vain regret. 

The night was so lovely, and she felt so 
wakeful, that it looked like a waste of the 
hour to lie down and try to sleep, and shut 
out the beauty of the moon and starlight. 
Her window opened on to the balcony ; she 
stepped out and stood with her hand on 
the balustrade, gazing down the steps that 
led down to the terrace. The air, though 
cool, was not chilly, and her dress was a 
warm one. She would take a turn on the 
terrace by moonlight, she thought ; and so 
went slowly and somewhat timidly down 
the steps, irresistibly attracted by the 
beauty of the night, yet half trembling, 
lest a band of brigands should choose 
those shady garden-paths for a midnight 


She liad descended the stairs in safety, 
and had taken about three steps along the 
terrace, when she started with alarm, and 
a voice said hastily, "" Don't be startled ; 
it's only I," just in time to prevent a scream 
from rousing the household. 

"Is it you? Oh, liow you frightened 
me !" she answered, a little tremulous with 
nervousness, a little fluttered with relief 
and shy pleasure as she recognised the 
terrifying shadow to be none other than 

** Am I such a very alarming apparition ?" 
he asked. 

Both of them had spoken instinctively, 
in what might seem unnecessarily subdued 

''You startled me. I thought — I did 
not think " she stammered. 


" You thought I was a ghost ?" 

" I only came out for a minute for a 
breath of air. Good night," she said, in 
that shy, soft, startled way Duke always 
found so charming. 

** If you would be less alarmed if I were 
a ghost, please believe me a ghost still. 
You would not be in such a hurry to run 
away from a poor harmless wandering 
ghost ?" he responded, lightly, but tenderly. 

^' I should be in a hurry to rouse the 
household and report my own authentic 
ghost-story — that is, if I retained my senses 
enough to do so. I was just about to 
* make night hideous ' with a loud scream, 
when you spoke and reassured me." 

" I'm glad you didn't. But I had no 
idea that you, like me, were given to 
solitary midnight wanderings. I always 


go for a smoke and a stroll ; but I didn't 
tliink it was a feminine habit to brave the 
dangers of brigands and bogies ?" 

" It is not my habit. I don't know what 
possessed me to long for a breath of this 
lovely air to-night — having breathed which 
breath, I must return," she said, brightly, 
hurriedly, moving as if to leave him. 

'' Don't go yet," he said, entreatingly. 
"Come round the garden. You have no 
idea how lovely it is. It only wants a 
nightingale to make it perfect." 

He had taken her hand as he spoke ; she 
left it lingering in his, but did not comply 
with his request. 

*' No, no," she said, sweetly and gaily, in 

the subdued half -whisper they had spoken 

in all along; '^you must enjoy its loveliness 

alone ; and if you want a nightingale, you 
must whistle yourself a tune !" 


*' You little witcli !" lie said. "Do you 
know, Zora, no niglitingale's note ever 
sounded so sweet as your voice on the 
water this evening ? I half wish you had 
not sung !" 

"Why?" she breathed, softly. 

"Because I cannot forget it. It was 
haunting me only now- — just now, when I 
saw you coming down the steps. Was it 
because I was thinking of you that some 
influence drew you out to me ?" 

"I must go now," Zora responded, 
earnestly and half entreatingly, looking up 
at him in the mellow blending of moon and 
starlight, and reluctantly, slowly, making 
a faint effort to draw her hand from his 

" Must you ?" he answered, regretfully, 
detainiog the soft little fingers in his. 


*' I must indeed. My candle was flicker- 
ing very low, and I shall only catch the 
last quarter of an inch of it as it is," she 
replied, smiling. ^'So good night." Her 
voice softened and lingered on the word. 

" Good night, my darling," he said — and 
stooped and kissed her, unforbidden and 
un repulsed. 

So they parted; and Zora found her 
candle at its last gasp, and had barely 
closed the windows and drawn the curtains 
before it sputtered and flickered, and was 
no more ; so that she had to perform the 
unmaking of her toilette groping about the 
apartment in the dark ; and when she lay 
down, did not sleep till nearly dawn, the 
feverish fluttering of her heart scaring 
Nature's soft nurse away. 

The morning came, and waxed to day 


and waned to night; and new days and 
nights coming and going found and left 
things unchanged amongst the party at 
the villa. Both Duke and Zora found 
their meetings difficult to procure, so 
difficult that they were indiscreet enough 
to allow themselves to be driven to com- 
municate by letter. They hit upon a con- 
venient and safe method for the transfer of 
letters by the simple plan of fixing upon a 
given spot of concealment. Chance favour- 
ed their meeting sometimes, and crossed 
them sometimes. The caution they were 
compelled to observe irked them, and yet 
tended rather to draw them together than 
to drive them apart, as difficulty is as like- 
ly to extinguish love as oil poured upon 
the fire. So often evening after evening it 
happened that that first chance meeting 


was repeated, that a slight figure flitted 
lightly down the balcony steps on to the 
terrace in the mellow dusk of the star- 
light, and that Duke, either starting on, or- 
returning from, his usual late ramble, was 
not far off. 

So they would meet in the broad bars of 
shadow on the terrace, and exchange a few 
hasty whispers and snatch a stolen kiss, 
and perhaps, as with impunity they grew 
more careless, take a turn round the gar- 
den walks; and Zora would glance nervous- 
ly up at Kate's window, which also gave on 
to the balcony, and fancy she saw Kate's 
curtain move, or that she heard somebody 
call her, and would fly like a frightened 
deer up the marble steps, and would flash 
in at her own open window swift and silent 
as a ghost, and sink into her chair with a 


fast-beating heart — only to run the same 
risk again next evening. 

Still she did not cease to assert to her- 
self that these meetings should end " one 
day," and, being fully conscious that they 
could end in only sorrow, and that the 
longer that ending was deferred the harder 
the tie would be to break, she yet could 
never muster strength to say, " The end is 
BOW and here." 

As for Duke, although in some wild 
impulses he was ready to sacrifice all the 
world besides for Zora, and although, had 
she so chosen, she could probably have avail- 
ed herself of these moods of passion, and 
worked upon his uncertain and impulsive 
nature to desert Luli for her, yet there 
never was a time when in cool blood and 
sober thought Duke contemplated the 


possibility of losing Luli. He was blindly 
fascinated by Zora ; but he would almost 
as soon have cut off his right hand as have 
told Luli that he repented of his engage- 
ment to her and desired to be free. Yet 
he loved Zora so much that his heart was in 
a constant turmoil of conflicting passions ; 
and over and over again he resolved to 
give her up, and resolved in vain, for in her 
presence all good resolutions, all scruples 
and regrets, melted into air. 

Had he been able to take things more 
lightly, it might perhaps have been better 
for all. If his nature had been one where 
light loves come and go, if such fancies a& 
his fancy for Zora now had ere this held 
his heart for a time and passed and left no 
mark, this conflict of two feelings would 
not have troubled him. Nay, there would 


have been no sueli conflict ; ho would have 
easily obeyed the injunction to 

" Take the season and have done ; 
Love well the hour, and let it go !" 

And when the hour had gone, he would 
have turned placidly back to Luli. 

But this passion had seized him with a 
strength he could not disguise from himself. 
It seemed to him no passing fancy, but a 
spell that could never break. In some 
moods he was its slave ; yet he could never 
altogether shake himself free from the re- 
proachful thought of Luli. 

Duke, on the whole, was backward for a 
nineteenth-century young man of imagina- 
tion and culture, who, by reading a good 
deal, and by conversation even more, 
had become fairly imbued with the spirit 
of the age. He had fallen into the ranks, 


and marclied with the van on some lines ; 
but on this occasion he was decidedly in 
the rear. He was not emancipated from 
old-fashioned ideas of constancy, and still 
attached some weight (in theory, whether 
or not he put it into practice) to the 
obligations of betrothal. The spell of 
family and home had not lost its charm for 
him. He had a mother, had once had 
sisters, and had spent his boyhood in the 
happiest, purest, and healthiest of English 
homes. In the Mayburne family, husbands 
and wives — nay, even affianced lovers — were 
not in the habit of entering into secret 
Platonic romances with attractive members 
of the opposite sex. The influence of early 
training had somehow not worn oif from 
Duke, even during a few seasons of suffi- 
ciently Bohemian life. 


So that, although he had read many elo- 
quent refutations of the idea of fidelity to one 
object being true love's law ; although he, 
like all appreciative imaginations, had been 
borne away by the perfect flow and match- 
less melody of that divine outpouring of 
a genius which, in that supreme flight, 
left earth behind, — '* Epipsychidion," — al- 
though he was well acquainted with the 
doctrine that 

*' True love in this diifers from gold and clay — 
That to divide is not to take away," 

and that 

*.' Narrow 
The heart that loves, the brain that contemplates, 
The life that wears, the spirit that creates 
One object and one fonn, and builds thereby 
A sepulchre for its eternity," — 

yet still the conviction that fidelity was a 
weakness had never really reached him ; 
still the old theories of his early days clung 


about him, althougli in practice he let them 
drift ; still the simple creed of one man's 
love for one woman seemed to him the law 
of true harmony and happiness ; and instead 
of admiring himself for the freedom with 
which, in defiance of that old-world creed, 
his heart had turned to Zora, he was wroth 
with himself for being led away from his 

Of course he often resorted, in self- 
defence before the tribunal of his own con- 
science, to the plea that the spirit of the age 
tends towards a breaking of all shackles, 
an emancipation from all time-worn preju- 
dices ; that it had ever been as impossible to 
confine love by law as to enchain the winds ; 
that to expect a man's fancy never to rove, 
his heart to hold but one idol, was to expect 
his imagination to be a tame, his nature a 

VOL. 11. o 


narrow one — and, finally, tliat, at any rate, 
so long as he was practically true to Luli, 
and spared her sensitive feelings from any 
pang, she was in no way aggrieved. But, 
in spite of all these pleas that he brought 
forward in answer to the indictment of 
conscience — in spite of all the plausibilities 
of reasoning, the old home-creed held its 
influence still ; and he could never convince 
himself that he would be a better and hap- 
pier man through loving two women than 
loving one — especially as the one whom he 
had loved and chosen first from out of the 
world, and to whom he had plighted him- 
self of his own free will, was as innocent 
of all modern enlightenments on love, and 
of all the improved and emancipating 
doctrines of the day, as if she had been 
still a child. 


Taken upon the whole, therefore. Duke's 
position was a much more unpleasant one 
than if he had been less galled by the 
fetters of old associations and influences. 

Perhaps the sorest trial to him was the 
being forced to act a daily lie in Lull's 
presence, for Lull's sake. She was so 
lovely, so pure, so gentle, he would rather 
have sacrificed himself in any way than 
wounded her tender heart. He could as 
easily have struck her an actual brutal 
blow as have looked in her face and told 
her he loved another. And, after all, of 
these two conflicting feelings, which was the 
truest love ? 

The constant disturbance of mind, the 
feverish unrest he was enduring, began to 
tell upon his spirits; his moods became 
more fitful, his gaiety more forced. 



"How pale you are to-day, dear? Are 
you not well?" asked Lull, in her soft, 
caressing accents one afternoon as they 
sat by the lake. 

"Well? yes, quite well!" he responded, 
more petulantly than he was in the habit 
of addressing her. Luli glanced up half 
surprised, with a wounded look ; then her 
eyes sank, and she slowly pulled the petals 
off a flower. Duke felt that he had 
spoken pettishly, but added an explanation 
rather likely to irritate than to soothe. " I 
hate to be noticed." 

Luli's sensitive lips quivered ; her colour 
rose ; and for just a moment it hung in the 
balance whether she would accept the chal- 
lenge and rise armed for battle, or let the 
unintentionally thrown glove lie unnoticed 
as it had been hastily and carelessly flung. 


At the end of a moment or so, tlie balance 
turned. To his gloomy ** I hate to be 
noticed," she answered, softly, " Then you 
shall not be noticed," and looked up at him 
with a half timid, coaxing smile. 

To the sweetness of that shy smile Duke 
succumbed. He looked with remorseful 
tenderness into the large, truthful, trusting 
eyes, clear eyes that had |never drooped 
with a secret of their own, nor watched 
suspicious of a secret of others. He drew 
her to him with a caressing gesture ; but 
his face was gloomy, and he could not 
smile at her for the sharp sting of self- 
reproach tingling in his heart. 

" Luli — sweetest, purest, gentlest ! There 
is no man in the world worthy of you," he 
said, at last. 

'^ Duke ?" she answered, in loving re- 


proach and protest, surprised and half 
distressed that her hero should in any 
mood stoop to deem himself ''unworthy" 
of her. *'My darling, my darling," she 
whispered in the softest, lowest, tenderest 
of tones, leaning her golden head against 
his breast, and laying her gentle hand on 
his, ^^you not worthy! youT 

*' I am not good enough for you, Luli; 
please understand that ; accept it as a fact," 
he said, almost abruptly. 

" Not good enough for me ?" she repeat- 
ed, in genuine perplexity and amazement 
and deprecation. *' But why, Duke ? — 
what is there in me — except that I love you 
^that is all the good there is in me ! I 
can only give you love — and if you give me 

that " She paused, and looked up 

trustfully, yet appealingly. 


" Love !" he answered. " Can I lielp 
always loving you, Luli ? Could I cease 
to love you? But, dear, we sometimes 
wrong those we love the most ?" 

" Would love he love," she said, " if there 
was any wrong that it could not forgive ?" 

She looked so beautiful in her trust and 
innocence that her eyes of heaven's own 
deep misty midnight blue seemed full of 
heaven's own light. On Zora's face, love- 
ly in human perfection as it was, there 
had never rested that spiritual look of 
almost divine peace and purity ; and Duke 
knew this. For the moment he felt a mad 
impulse to speak words that would lead to 
a confession of his own weakness. Then 
he knew that for safety's sake, for Zora's 
safety as well as his own, he dared not let 


the conversation continue in this strain ; so 
answered lightly, forcing a smile, 

" Don't promise me such sweet absolu- 
tion, darling, lest I should be tempted to 
put it to proof." 





" I saw a sight that night, that night, 

Because I could not heliD but see — 

Because the moon was bleached so white, 

Because the stars were yellow light, 

Because they blossomed in a tree, 

And dropped their blossoms on the grass — 

And saw because, alas ! alas ! 

An evil spirit guided me !" 

Joaquin Miller. 

A LT HOUGH Lull was unsuspicious and 
blind to the clouds tliat were dark- 
ening her horizon, not so her father. 

An idea once implanted in Glencairn's 
mind, especially a gloomy idea, was difficult 
to uproot. When, where, and how he had 
first conceived the suspicion of some 
mutual interest, some clandestine under- 


standing, existing between Duke and Zora, 
he could never have pointed out ; the 
moment when this idea struck deep root in 
his mind he could not fix. It grew so 
gradually, yet so surely, from seed so small 
and imperceptible that no trace remained 
of the day or hour when it was sown. 

Whether it had struck him first on the 
evening when he stood waiting to watch 
them step out of the boat in the red sunset 
light — whether it had been lurking in his 
mind from the time he became certain as 
to Zora's parentage, — or whether it arose 
only when he began to fancy that the 
young people kept now together more in a 
quartette than in pairs, and that Duke 
grew more sociable than lover-like, he 
knew not. Still slowly and insidiously 
these suspicions, once germinated, however 


basely and unreasonably conceived, sank 
deeper. They arose from an instinct 
stronger, and in some cases truer, than 
reason ; and he accepted rather than 
argued upon them, received them passively, 
rather than rose to battle with them. 

One night they weighed upon him, and 
lowered around him like a thundercloud in 
the darkness, and the silence, and midnight 



Whether it was that his morbid fancy 
that day had imagined a shade of prophetic 
sadness and wondering perplexity, as if of 
some new and scarcely comprehended sor- 
rowful foreboding, in Luli's eyes, or that 
he had noticed some incautious moment of 
emiwessement in Duke's manner to Zora, or 
some soft embarrassment in hers to him — 
whether, as the general "good night" ran 


round the circle, he had deemed that 
Duke's hand clasped Zora's a moment too 
long and her eyes drooped too timidly 
away from his, or whatever it was that had 
gathered the clouds darker in Glencairn's 
view, that night they lowered black and 
thick over his soul, the blacker because 
surcharged with the power of a supersti- 
tious idea of the strange workings and 
repetitions of Destiny. He lay long awake 
brooding in suspicions of the truth that he 
had no cause to be assured of; and fell 
into a troubled sleep, in which his floating 
fancies formed themselves into a dream. 

He thought that he was standing on the 
deck of a great vessel, ploughing across a 
hazy midnight sea. All was dreamy, and 
dusk, and mysterious ; the silent heaving 
sea and cloudy sky melted together in the 


mist of the horizon ; and across the waves^ 
gleaming faintly white through the dim 
twilight obscurity, a ghostly female figure, 
a pale shadowy wraith, that yet was plainly 
recognisable as Luli, was gliding, wringing 
her hands and wailing. Behind her a great 
serpent curved and glided through the 
water, always in her track, half submerged 
as it coiled and slid along, but with its 
malignant head upreared, and burning 
emerald eyes fixed on her. Glencairn 
endeavoured to call to her, but all around 
was ghostly and unreal, and his voice gave 
no sound ; and as the white shade passed 
moaning on, further and further into the 
distance, the serpent raised its head higher, 
close to his face, and hissed into his ear^ 
" Her fate is following her. You cannot 
save her." He sprang from the deck to- 


wards her, and felt the cold waters surge 
round him; and as he did so the scene 
changed ; the mist cleared ; the dusk 
brightened ; the dream, still a dream, 
assumed all the sharp outlines, the clear 
lights and shades of reality. 

A boat was gliding along over the blue 
daylight sea ; and in it sat Duke Mayburne 
and Zora Brown, no dreams nor wraiths, 
but bright and real and human, their beau- 
tiful heads bent together, smiling, absorbed 
in each other, resting on their oars as they 
gazed into each other's eyes, totally regard- 
less and forgetful of Luli, who sat bowed 
down in an attitude of utter prostration 
and hopeless sorrow, her face buried in 
her hands on the side of the boat, her long 
hair sweeping in the water and washing to 
and fro like strings of golden seaweed. 


As Glencairn drew near, Zora glanced up 
and smiled in a slow malicious triumph, 
and Duke looked at him with an aspect of 
cold hardness which he had never yet seen 
Duke's handsome, good-natured face wear, 
and said, "She must fade as her mother 
faded, and die as her mother died." The 
words were framed by Duke's lips, yet the 
voice was not his voice, but the voice of the 
serpent — the serpent that was Fate. And 
as Glencairn gained the boat and clutched 
at it, it swayed and capsized, and all were 
engulfed together; and struggling in the 
blindness and the darkness of the over- 
whelming waters, Glencairn awoke. 

He slept no more; the morning light 
was pouring full through the windows and 
streaming across the floor in broad bright 
rivers ; and the dream had made so vivid 



an impression on liim that he could not 
compose himself to sleep again. It struck 
him like a warning from another world, 
chilled him as if a presenceless voice had 
spoken, or an impalpable spectral hand 
pointed in warning. He never reflected 
that his train of thought before sleeping 
had been such as to induce that dream. 
He never regarded it as the natural work- 
ing in sleep of the brain that in its waking 
hour had been intent upon the fears and 
fancies which the dream had moulded 
together into shape. When morning was 
but a little further advanced, and before 
anyone else in the house was stirring, 
Glencairn went out and wandered down 
the garden towards the lake, to wash the 
feverish unrest away from his brain in the 
pure, fresh morning air. In one of the 


distant paths, near tlie boundary of tlie 
large garden, he saw a bow of pink ribbon 
lying on the path. Half mechanically he 
stooped and picked it up; and then his 
eyes fixed upon it with an intent, curious, 
speculative look. 

He was in a mood when little things im- 
pressed him, when "trifles light as air" 
seemed "confirmation strong." He asked 
himself at first abstractedly, then with 
a sudden suspicious interest — Who drop- 
ped this ribbon ? and when ? Glencairn 
was no man-milliner nor dandy, nor was 
he an artist ; he did not know what fashion 
a woman's dress was made in, and would 
probably not have distinguished silk from 
Japanese, or velvet from velveteen. But 
he had a keen eye for colour and a tena- 
cious memory. He knew that Zora Brown 



had worn pink ribbons of exactly this 
shade the previous evening. He recollected 
as he thought of it that she had worn a 
blue dress all the day, and had gone to 
change her dress for dinner unusually late, 
allowing but a few minutes from the time 
she ran up to her room and the time she 
joined them at the dinner-table in white 
muslin and pink ribbons. After dinner 
it had rained, and they had had "a quiet 
evening and a little music" in the salon. 
None of the ladies, he felt certain, had been 
out. But this ribbon did not look as if it 
had lain there more than one night at most. 
Neither of the other girls had worn pink. 
Had Zora then run out in the rain during the 
evening, the rain which however had ceased 
before the party had said " good night," but 
ceased too late for them to take a walk ? 


Why should she have rushed down to the 
lake in the rain ? Besides, that she had 
not been out of the room during the even- 
ing, he felt sure. Then by the freshness of 
the ribbon it was not a very far-fetched 
inference to assume that she had been out 
later, when the rain had ceased, and when 
everyone else had retired. 

Not far off on the same path lay one of the 
well-known tokens of Duke Mayburne's 
presence — a half cigar tossed carelessly 

In another mood Glencairn would not 
have noticed these things, or would only 
have cast his unconsciously penetrating 
eye upon them as he passed by. But this 
morning his attention fixed upon these 
trifles as the gaze of an Indian tracking 
friend or foe falls on the print of a 
mocassin on the grass. 


A dream — a knot of ribbon ! trivialities ! 
but nevertheless tbe first links in a chain. 

All that day Glencairn kept a ceaseless, 
but concealed, watch on Duke and Zora. 
They however were always on their guard. 
Only once he fancied he intercepted a glance 
of mutual understanding between them ; 
once he observed that during a general 
conversation they exchanged a swift and 
cautious whisper aside — a whisper so 
cautious, with nonchalance so admirably 
acted, that no eye less keen than Glen- 
cairn's would have noted it at all. 

" By-the-by," observed Glencairn as 
they were all assembled before dinner, " I 
think one of you young ladies can put in a 
claim to this property." He drew the pink 
bow from his pocket, where it had lain 
crumpled all day. " I am afraid it is 


ratliei' creased," he added deliberately and 
politely, trying to smooth out the ends with 
his unaccustomed fingers. 

" Oh, it is mine, thank you," said Zora, 
smiling unembarrassedly, and stretching 
out her hand for it. 

" Why, where did you find it, Mr. Glen- 
cairn? when did you drop it, Zora?" in- 
quired Kate in her clear high voice, attract- 
ing everyone's attention. 

'*I found it down at the bottom of the 
garden," replied Glencairn placidly, not 
looking in the least significant, but noticing 
with accuracy the exact shade of the blush 
that mounted to Zora's cheek as he spoke. 

" Why, you have had your blue dress on 

all day!" cried unconscious, straightforward, 

inquisitive Kate to Zora, " how did you 

manage to go dropping your pink bows 
about ?" 


''I pinned tliat bow on to my wHte 
scarf when I went in the garden after 
breakfast ; I must have dropped it then," 
explained Zora with the most innocent look 
in the world, but the tell-tale blush still 
lingering on her face. 

The shadow of a grim smile just curved 
the corner of Glencairn s mouth as he re- 
membered the hour at which he had found 
the ribbon, and that when the girls went 
into the garden " after breakfast," it had 
been in his pocket some three hours. 

That night when all the party bade each 
other good night and separated, Glencairn 
went as usual to his room, and saw Duke 
as usual take his hat and light a cigar and 
go out for a solitary stroll. But when all 
the house was quiet, Glencairn, opening 
and shutting the doors softly, left his room 


and crossed the hall, and quietly "went out 
on to the terrace. Keeping himself in 
shadow, he looked up at Zora's window ; 
there was a light there gleaming through 
the curtains. He looked with keen and 
far- searching eye along the terrace and 
into the near garden paths ; no one was to 
be seen, not a sound was to be heard. He 
descended the steps from the terrace to the 
garden, and standing back in the deep 
shadows of the shrubbery, in a spot 
where he could still see the light in Zora's 
window, he waited there and watched. 

Glencairn had no more scruple about 
watching or eavesdropping, with a purpose, 
than a savage about lying in ambush. 
He would not have done it without what 
seemed to him a sufficing motive ; but in 
his view the end justified the means ; and 


he hesitated no more about espionage when 
there was an end to be gained than an 
Indian about lurking in the forest on the 
watch for an enemy. In truth, Duke and 
Kate had not been far from the mark when 
they opined that at heart Glencairn was 
half a savage still ; and it is probable that 
in his veins there ran strangely mingled 
blood, and that, could the unsolved mystery 
of his parentage have been unravelled, his 
wandering life and nomadic tendencies 
would have been easily and clearly ac- 
counted for. 

In the very patience and silence and 
utter immobility with which he remained 
on the watch, there was something uncivi- 
lised and suggestive of a wilder life. 

His patience was neither severely tried 
nor unrewarded this night. After a little 


wtile the light disappeared from Zora's 
window ; then Glencairn's quick ear caught 
the sound of footsteps on the terrace, and 
even identified them as Duke's footsteps. 
The darkened window opened softly ; and 
Glencairn could distinguish a light female 
figure stealing cautiously along the balcony, 
until at the balcony stairs she disappeared 
from sight. 

Evidently she and Duke met in silence 
on the terrace, and came almost immedi- 
ately down the lower flight of steps to the 
garden. As they loitered slowly along, 
they passed so near Glencairn that every 
syllable they said, although they spoke but 
very softly, came clearly to his ears. 


" Yes, look at that great bright star !" 

" It is almost as clear and brilliant as on 
a frosty night in England !" 


" Do not let us talk of frost and England 
here /" 

^'England — and Winter!" she repeated, 
with a sigh, and added slowly, painfully, 
"But they must come !" 

*^Not yet," he said, "we have our Italian 
Autumn now, and here." 

As they wandered down the garden, 
Glencairn, letting them lead by a safe dis- 
tance, stealthily and slowly followed them. 
At the end of the garden they leant over 
the broad balustrade that bounded it, and 
looked upon the starlit lake. 

The lake, by day less purely blue than 
Geneva's peerless waters, was lovely in its 
clear darkness, its utter stillness. Its 
black sleeping depths seemed not to stir in 
the faintest ripple. Here and there a star 
trembled on its dark bosom ; and along the 


shadowy shore the white villas nestling on 
the banks gleamed faintly, and the lamp- 
light streamed from their windows as if a 
handful of topaz jewels were scattered 
there. The trees were silent silhouettes 
against the deep dark sky ; the hills upon 
the opposite shore rose like sombre ghosts, 
and over all the stars shone pure and dis- 
tant, like gleams of the light of Heaven 
breaking through the black veil of night. 

Duke and Zora stood looking on th© 
peace and beauty of the scene, utterly un- 
conscious of the eyes that were watching 
them. A boat was passing in the distance, 
and faint and light the plash of the oars 
came over the water to them, and clearer 
and sweeter, the sound of a girl's voice 
singing as the oarsmen rowed slowly and 
almost languidly on. 

222 GLENCAmN. 

^' They are going liome from some party 
by water; how delightful !" said Zora, 

" There are the boats moored yonder," 
said Duke. " Why could we not go down 
and loose one and take a row on the lake ?" 
he added, eagerly. 

** We should be madT protested Zora 
emphatically, as if in alarm at the very 
idea, *' Madder even than we are now, 
and that is mad enough !" she added 

"Mad enough, yes," assented Duke in 
the same tone. " Well, it is as well we are 
not rowing out on the lake in a little boat, 
after all ; for in some moods, Zora, I think 
the spirit would move me to tip the boat 
over and drown us both." 

"And a good thing too," murmured 
Zora, with bitterer despondency than 


seemed natural to her sweet voice. Then 
her natural softness came back to her, and 
she added caressingly, " No, Duke, do not 
say so ! The end will come soon enough." 

The soft tones faltered, and Duke was 
conquered immediately. 

" "We must go back now," said Zora 
regretfully, but anxiously. ''It is so late ! 
and if Katie should wake and call me !" 

'' My darling girl, we have not been out 
near a quarter of an hour," protested 

'' But we must go back. I am so 
anxious, Duke," she said, clinging half 
nervously, half fondly to his arm as she 
drew him along the path. " I keep fancy- 
ing I hear somebody coming." 

Glencairn smiled grimly. He did not 
wish himself to be discovered ; but he 


thought with some scornful and bitter 
amusement how, if they were to discover his 
presence, he would drily explain that he 
had come out for a starlight stroll, and 
remark upon the strange and pleasing 
chance by which they had all three acci- 
dentally chosen the same hour and place to 
enjoy the air of the Italian evening. 

However, they did not explore the by- 
ways of the garden, nor seek to penetrate 
the shadows ; and Glencairn remained 
unsuspected and undiscovered. When 
Zora stole up the balcony stairs and glided 
into her room, there was no alarm, nor 
apprehension, nor shadow of presentiment 
on her soul, although her eyes were full of 
dreamy sadness, and she sighed, *' It must 
end ! We shall have to part. It will 
come soon enough !" 


"When Duke crossed the marble liall, the 
very last thought that would have entered 
his mind would have been to open the door 
of Glencairn's room and look in to see if 
his future father-in-law were safely sleep- 
ing. So in their blind security and ignor- 
ance, yet vaguely and unceasingly beset by 
some anxiety, although not knowing what 
definite cause they had to be anxious, 
assailed by doubts and scruples and 
remorse and fears, yet never looking in the 
direction whence the storm should burst, 
and blind to the black cloud that was 
gathering, they let the winds and the waves 
bear them on, and read no threatening 
omens in the sky. 




"We have heard from hidden places 

What love scarce lives and hears ; 

We have seen on fervent faces 

The pallor of strange tears; 

" We have trod the wine- vat's treasure, 

Whence, ripe to steam and stain. 

Foams round the feet of pleasure 

The blood -red must of pain." 


T" OYE is the potentiality of all heroism 
and of all crime. When it enters 
into a human heart, it possesses it with all 
divine possibilities, yet in the celestial 
light of its halo sleeps the fire that, if 
evil influences should kindle it, burns and 
brands deep as the mark on the brow of 
Cain. There is no hell to the depths of 


wliicli Love, maddened and misguided, may 

not liurl itself down, no Heaven whose 

pure heights it may not scale. 

In even this love of Duke and Zora, 

which was far indeed from the noblest, 

which was simply an irresistible attraction 

compelling together two creatures of beauty 

strong to dazzle, and warm and impulsive 

natures weak to resist, — which was but a 

magnetism drawing eye to eye rather than 

soul to soul — in even this love there were 

redeeming lights. It may be said in Duke's 

favour that, disloyal and fickle as he was, 

he never from first to last thought lightly 

of Zora, nor treated hei% whose rashness 

might easily have been misinterpreted and 

whose trust misused, with less respect than 

he gave to the purer, nobler, truer, and as 

trusting nature of the woman, as young 



and fair, to whom he was in honour bound, 
whom he sometimes rather adored than 
loved, and at other times — forgot. 

For Zora, she was at least sincere, and 
in her weak, impulsive, passionate heart no 
worldly views nor mercenary plans had 
now a place. She dreaded discovery, yet 
each day she risked it with a rashness that 
was the nearest approach to courage of 
which she was capable. Still all the time 
she feared the discovery of their secret 
meetinsfs with a terror that froze her 
heart, but could not freeze out its love ; and 
it never crossed her mind to calculate on 
the probability that, in the event of these 
meetings being detected and exposed, 
Duke, who would otherwise hold loyal to 
Luli, would in that case deem his honour 
lay in the opposite direction. If Zora were 


compromised, and exposed to false con- 
structions and ruining rumours through 
his fault, he would feel it was to Zora he 
was bound. He was just the man under 
such circumstances to stand in generous 
indignation by her side against the world, 
to swear that he would atone to her at the 
altar for any sorrow he had caused her, and 
so in hot haste and defiance to make her 
his wife. He was just the man also, 
afterwards, to sigh for Luli, and say that 
he had lost an angel ! 

But the windings and turnings of Duke's 
mind, the relative strength of the conflict- 
ing passions waging war within him, had 
no place in Glencairn's speculations. He 
did not study or enter into Duke's motives 
and temptations ; and on Z era's feelings he 
never wasted a thought. He saw only the 


plain fact of their secret understanding, 
and the clandestine meetings whicli were 
evidently a habit and a custom. That 
night when, after witnessing with his own 
eyes their meeting, he returned with cat- 
like quiet to the house, Glencairn sat 
sleepless in his room from midnight until 

It seemed to him now clear that his last 
night's dream was no chance twisting to- 
gether of memories of the past, no crystal- 
lisation of waking formless fears and 
fancies, but a true foreboding — a warning 
as true as the Highlander s wraith or the 
Irish banshee. In all such warnings he 
believed with the simple faith of the 
natural man with eyes yet closed to science, 
but opened to read portents and prophecies 
in the flight of a bird or the falling of a star. 


The nets of destiny were closing round 
him and Luli. In the days that were 
looming darkly foreshadowed ahead, he 
was to see his darling fade and die as her 
mother died. He had not suffered enough 
in all these years of regret and remorse, 
remorse that was however always rather a 
bitter grief for the loss his sin had caused 
him than any approach to repentance of it 
as a sin in itself. He had not drunk the 
cup of suffering deeply enough ; but for his 
act his daughter was to atone in tears and 
expiate in death. Fate, subtle and cruel 
in its ordinances, had reserved for him the 
retribution of seeing her suffer. 

" She must fade as her mother faded." 
Yes, she was as tender and fragile a flower, 
and as likely to bow down and die. He 
saw the story of the two mothers repeating 


itself line for line in the story of the two 
daughters. As the dark and dangerous 
eyes of Zora's mother had lured him away 
from his true love and wife and broken her 
heart, so the soft seductive loveliness of 
this girl, her dark-eyed mother's true and 
worthy daughter, with even more alluring 
wiles, more dangerous, because more tender, 
was weaving the charm that was to en- 
tangle Duke in nets whose meshes he could 
never break, and to be the sorrow of Luli's 
life, and possibly the cause of her death. 
Glencairn never for a moment regarded the 
possibility of Duke's parting utterly from 
Luli, wholly transferring his allegiance to 
Zora, and leaving Luli free. He only 
looked down one vista of the possibilities 
of the future, and saw Duke retaining 
Luli's love, keeping her his own, yet wearing 


her life away by tlie constant torture of 
the jealousy that cannot blame and cannot 
rebel — that is not anger, but only agony. 
He did not contemplate Duke's desertion 
of her while there yet was time for them to 
part. He contemplated only Duke's cursing 
her life with the half love, the half faith that 
is crueller than open inconstancy ; for while 
one inflicts the sharp wound that may heal, 
the other is the slow sure poison that kills i 
He seemed to see the map of Destiny un- 
roll itself, and traced her future too clear- 
ly. She had her mother's heart as well as 
her mother's face, and was wasting upon 
Duke the same full and free and limitless 
devotion that Laura had lavished upon 
himself. In that pure and deep, simple and 
single-minded nature which Luli inherited 
from her'mother, there was no reserve, no 


caution, no limit. All the force and 
strength, the hope and aim, the faith and 
passion of the soul, was poured out in the 
one deep channel of an exhaustless love. 
And Duke — Duke whom yet he could not 
hate, because he looked upon him chiefly 
as an instrument in the hands of fate — was 
being hour by hour and day by day allured 
from this great pure love by a lower and 
shallower nature, even as he, Glencairn 
himself, had been. The girl had been sent 
here for that purpose. To that end the 
threads of these separate lives that had 
floated so far apart had been gathered to- 
gether and woven into one twisted and 
tangled skein. 

The serpent had said in his dream, 
" Her fate is following her. You cannot 
save her." ♦ 


*^ Can I not ?" he pondered, gloomily. 
"Can I not?" 

He thought of the Fate he believed in as 
he would have thought of a human tyrant. 
Destiny and Providence were always in his 
mind personalised, as the grand old 
heathens personalised their gods, and gave 
them human form and nature, as the savage 
personalises his god into a carved stick of 
wood, his devil into a fetish slung round 
his neck. Qlencairn looked upon Destiny 
with the sullen brooding with which he 
would have listened to a mortal despot's 
unjust decree, and said to himself, "What 
has she done that it should wreak itself 
upon her ?" 

He always acted on impulse, not the 
impulse of the moment, but the impulse of 
the hour or day. He would contemplate 


an impulse silently, not reasoning upon it, 
but regarding it introspectively for a brief 
while, and then, feeling it possess him so 
strongly that he could not realise that it 
would ever change, he would act upon it 
calmly and deliberately. He would deem 
that he had debated the question, while he 
had only kept it in his heart. Thus 
actions that looked cool and deliberate 
enough to be the outcome of reason and 
reflection, were in reality the mere effect of 
unreasoning impulse. 

He alternated always between the two 
extremes of "letting things drift" and 
*' striking while the iron was hot." This 
morning, before he left his room, he made 
up his mind to the one step that he could 
and would take, and before the morning 
was many hours old he took it. 


Duke and Luli, Kate and Mrs. Craven, 
went for a row on tlie lake ; Mr. Craven 
sat reading GaJignani on the terrace ; and 
Glencairn went to seek Zora, whom he 
found in the salon, availing herself of one 
of her rare hours of liberty to write a batch 
of letters, for, solitary waif as she was, she 
was too charming not to have friends and 
correspondents, too affectionate to neglect 
them, and even now, in this bright ^^et 
stormy Summer of romance and love, she 
did not forget the kind-hearted, doubtful- 
grammared London friends, between whom 
and her present guardians there yawned 
the gulf of caste. 

** I want to have a little talk with you, 
Miss Zora, and I may as well seize this 
opportunity," said Glencairn, with stiff 
politeness, taking a seat near her. 


" Certainly," said Zora, smiling, with 
amiable promptness, and pushing her letters 
aside. But although she assented so equa- 
bly and readily, she had taken the alarm 
at once ; the colour was rising in her cheek, 
even before he spoke again ; and it was 
with an effort that she forced herself to 
raise her eyes to his. 

*' I am afraid our conversations are not 
invariably productive of much satisfaction," 
he said, grimly. " What I have to say is 
simply this. It is not my habit to beat 
about the bush. I know the game you are 
playing. What is your object in it ? Do 
you hope to induce Duke Mayburne to 
break off his engagement to my daughter 
and marry you ?" 

"What can you mean?" faltered Zora, 
whose blush had faded quickly as Glen- 


cairn came with such, sudden plain-speaking 
to his point. She was very pale and trem- 
bling now ; and although she tried to as- 
sume an appearance of surprise and be- 
wilderment, the pretence was a poor one. 

"I mean precisely what I say," he re- 
plied. *' I know of your clandestine under- 
standing with Duke quite positively; so 
that it would be useless for you to waste 
time in denying it. What is to be the 
upshot of it ? Do you intend that he 
shall part from my daughter and marry 

you ?" 

"I never dreamt of such a thing," pro- 
tested Zora, in a piteously tremulous voice, 
and with a fair amount of truth, for al- 
though such an idea had sometimes thrust 
itself as an unbidden guest into her mind, 
she had never invited, never encouraged it. 


" I never thought — I did not mean " she 

added, brokenly. Her voice faltered more 
and more ; tears came into her lovely eyes. 
" Have some charity for me — do pity me ! 
I have been so unhappy — do show me some 
mercy," she murmured, with a pleading look 
that would have melted any man but Glen- 
cairn. He was hard as adamant to her 
beauty and her tears. 

''I am showing mercy," he said, steadily, 
" in warning you that the game is not a 
safe one. You are not aware perhaps that 
I knew your mother once." 

He was speaking with slow and careful 
utterance, his eyes averted from her and 
downcast, his dark brows contracted in an 
ominous line, a deep line which only show- 
ed thus when he was profoundly earnest. 

Zora looked at him and listened, half 


interested and curious, half alarmed. But 
he was silent for awhile. Then he raised 
his eyes to her and said abruptly, 

* ' Look here ! I will not see your mother's 
daughter wreck my daughter's life !" 

Zora shrank away, and almost uttered a 
cry of terror. The dark look of his sombre, 
piercing eyes frightened her ; the half 
savage resolution of his tone frightened 
her. A sense of terror, a purely physical 
fear of Glencairn, fell upon her spirit then 
and there — not one of the momentary 
impulses of fear that pass away like a Sum- 
mer cloud, but the shrinking, shuddering, 
foreboding terror that endures until the end. 

Glencairn saw this, and knew his power. 
He felt a sort of scorn for this weak, 
fragile creature, who yet was so strong to 
work fatal mischief ; he scorned her almost 



too much to avail himself of his power to 
terrify her, beyond the extent he deemed 

" You shall promise me," he said, keeping 
his eyes fixed upon her, and noting how she 
shrank and wavered beneath his gaze, " to 
set Duke Mayburne free from your nets at 
once. Let him go absolutely and for ever. 
Separate yourself from him entirely; repulse 
any advances he may make. Put an 
instant stop to your midnight inter- 

views " 

Zora started violently at these last 
words, and uttered a faint little sobbing 
breath of inarticulate fear and distress and 
entreaty, and her face flushed and paled 
with uncontrollable agitation. 

" Yes, you see I might take another 
course," said Glencairn. ** I might tell 


what I know, and so serve up a pretty little 
tastily-garnislied disli for scandal-mongers. 
But I won't do that. I choose my own 
way. You shall swear to me to part 
utterly and entirely from Duke May bur ne 
henceforth and for ever, and jo\i shall keep 

your oath, or " 

He paused a moment, and his lips parted 
slowly over his set teeth, and gave him a 
strange and dangerous look, and in his 
deep-set eyes there flickered such an ex- 
pression as, once seen, can never be for- 
gotten — a fierce, smouldering fire, such as 
might gleam through the screen of leaves 
behind which the dark-skinned barbarian 
lies crouched in wait for his enemy. In 
such a look the secret savage hidden at his 
heart rose up and glanced out of his eyes. 
Zora gazed at him half fascinated with 



fear, but shrinking away and trembling ; 
and as lie laid bis band upon ber arm, sbe 
started witb a faint cry. 

*' Ob, you are safe enougb !" be said, 
scornfully, and instantly releasing ber 
wrist. " I will not burt you, and I will 
not betray you. But cross my will in tbis 
matter, excbange one more word of love 
witb Duke, and lie sball die !" 

" Ob, I promise — I swear '."gasped Zora, 
witb a sob of terror. " I will never — 

never Indeed I never meant — it was 

only " 

'^ Only a game tbat I bave known to be 
played before," interposed Glencairn. " It 
bas been played to tbe bitter end some- 
times. It rests witb you — or witb tbe 
Fate tbat perbaps is laugbing at us tbis 
day," be added, witb a sort of reckless 


defiance — *' whether it shall be so played 
out now." 

'' It shall not be," she protested, agi- 
tatedly. " I promise all that you can ask. 
I will never see nor speak to him alone 

again- " Sobs took her breath again, 

and she added tremulously, pleadingly — 
*' except just once — to explain — to say 
good-bye ?" 

" To explain ! to say good-bye !" he re- 
peated sternly and scornfully. '' No ! I 
know where such explanations lead and 
how such good-byes end. I know the 
story — it is an old one. If I could have 
known — if I could have known ! I would 
have let him drown and die before my 
eyes — I would have pushed him down to 
the depths with my own hands. But I had 
no warning — no sign — how could I know ? 


I tell you now that I will not see the story 
acted out. End it ; or it shall be ended 
for you. No more meetings — no letters — 
no words. Promise me that all shall be 
over from this hour — swear never to allow 
another meeting, never by word or look or 
letter to exchange another sign or token 
of love with him from this hour forth for 


" I — I do — I promise all that," she said 
with a shuddering sigh, breathlessly, 
tremblingly, her voice still failing with 
nervousness, but with all the eager em- 
phasis of sincerity, and without a trace of 
the wavering accent of falsehood in the 
quivering of her tones. 

She meant what she said. She was far 
too terrified of Glencairn either to equivo- 
cate to him or deny him ; and at that mo- 


ment she would willingly have signed a bond 
with her own blood consigning her soul to 
the powers of Darkness if she should ever 
again even exchange words of friendship 
with Duke. Her only anxiety was to fly far 
away and hide herself — far away from the 
man she loved, far away from the man she 
feared. Therefore promptly and without 
reserve, and with no other hesitation than 
that of nervous emotion, she gave the 
solemn promises Glencairn exacted. 

" Keep your word," he said sternly, " if 
you set any value on his life. For as 
sure as that sun will set to-night, if he and 
you communicate by private meeting or 
letter ever again, he is a dead man. It 
may well be that Destiny finds rare sport 
watching us two to-day. It may well be 
that it is written in her book that the word 


you give me now is to be broken, as 
women's promises have been before. But 
if any more meetings between liim and you 
are written, his death is written too. Bear 
that in mind." 

Zora was not in the least likely to forget. 
Faint with agitation and alarm, she fled to 
her room, and flung herself helplessly 
on her knees by her bedside, breathing no 
word and shaping no form of prayer, only 
falling instinctively into the attitude of 
praying, though too stunned in soul to 
pray. She was not religious, but super- 
stitious, and in the face of trouble and 
terror, sank down on her knees by instinct, 
as if in vague and helpless appeal to some 
invisible strength that might guard her 
around and keep the enemy off. She was 
stricken into a sort of mental insensibility. 


and could not collect her thoughts nor find 
words to utter even to her own heart. 
Shame, terror, sorrow — in all these the 
wonder as to how Glencairn had discovered 
the carefully-kept secret was lost. She 
dared not look back upon the past ; she 
dared not cast a glance into the future — a 
future without Duke, without him for 
ever ! She pressed her hands to her ears 
as if to shut out the echo of Glencairn's 
threat, but it beat in her brain, each 
syllable of it throbbing and ringing there 
till it made her dizzy. She closed her 
eyes as if to shut out some horrible vision, 
but it burnt in the darkness through her 
closed eyelids. She shuddered, and cried 
almost aloud, as if protesting and pleading, 
'' Oh ! it is ended ! it is ended ! For his 
sake — never, never more !" 



" A sin]5:ing sun — a sky of red — 
In bars and banners overhead ; 
And blown apart like curtains drawn. 
Afar at sea a blowing sail, 

That shall go down before the dawn. 
And they are passion-tossed and pale, 
The two that stand and look alone." 

Joaquin Miller. 

FTIOR the remainder of that day Zora 
kept her room, on the plea of a head- 
ache, which was indeed no false excuse. 
She was careful and successful in prevent- 
ing even Kate from suspecting that mental 
anxiety was what ailed her, rather than 
physical indisposition. The excuse, — that 
indispensable and invaluable excuse, the 


more invaluable that it usually partakes 
sufficiently of truth to be a salve to con- 
science — of "headache," accounted satisfac- 
torily for pallor, for nervousness, and for 
disinclination to talk. In the evening Zora 
ventured to make her appearance in the 
salon, pale and gentle and pensive, — " evi- 
dently suffering still, poor dear," as good 
Mrs. Craven observed, — and was petted, 
and compassionated, and sent to bed early. 
The next morning she arose fresh and 
fair, having quite recovered her brightness 
of eye and complexion, her composure of 
countenance, and — to all appearance — her 
equability of spirits. She possessed a 
wonderful power of rallying, and consider- 
able histrionic talent; indeed, when not 
unnerved and unstrung by over- excitement, 

as she had been the previous day, she was 
an apt and innate actress. 


That day all went smootlily. The party 
took boats and rowed to Cadenabbia, where 
they had lunch, and went over Prince 
Saxemeiningen's palace and grounds. And 
all the day, during the row, and the drive, 
and the sociable wanderings along the 
picture-galleries and round the gardens, 
Glencairn kept his steady secret watch on 
Duke and Zora still. They were unex- 
ceptionally distant and indifferent. Only 
Glencairn with his penetrating observation 
noticed that Zora avoided Duke with a 
kind of timorous anxiety and care, and 
that Duke once or twice seemed to remark 
this himself, and to look half puzzled, as if 
he scarcely understood why she should be 
so unusually cautious. 

Duke had a little note-and-sketch-book 
in which he was always scribbling items of 

GLEXCx\IRX. 253 

information, or dotting down suggestions 
for future sketclies. Once bj unlucky 
chance this day Glencairn noticed that 
Duke scribbled something hastily on the 
page opposite to that on which he professed 
to be occupied, and also that he, deeming 
himself unnoticed, tore out the page on 
which he had written a few hasty words, 
and kept it doubled up in his hand. Its 
transfer to Zora was cleverly managed, so 
cleverly that even Glencairn, keenly on the 
watch as he was, did not observe it; but he 
did observe the momentary retreating and 
wavering of Zora's eye when next her look 
met his, some half an hour afterwards, face 
to face ; and he felt a full and immediate 
conviction that the folded paper lay hidden 
in her bosom. Yet as it was not proven, 
save by that uneasy receding of her eye 


from his, tie gave her the benefit of the 
doubt. Besides, he deemed that he had so 
thoroughly alarmed her — she would scarce- 
ly dare to disobey him so soon ! 

It is the evening of that day ; and all the 
|)arty, by ones and twos and threes, have 
wandered out upon the terrace, and are 
assembled there. Glencairn is the last to 
join them. It is a pretty scene. The 
twilight flings a soft subduing veil over 
earth and sky, that melts all contrasted 
colours into a harmony. The statues shine 
white between the shadowy green trees. 
The girl's light dresses gleam faintly 
through the dusk ; and all the bright rays 
there are seem caught by the two fair 
heads of Kate and Luli. But further in 
the shadow there is a little graceful darkly- 
draped figure, drooping modestly back. 


Zora's face is slightly downcast, and her 
dark curls do not catch the rays of light. 
But Glencairn's eyes fix instantly on her. 
Duke is bending over her chair, bending so 
close that his curly hair almost brushes her 
brow, speaking to her aside ; and she, 
though her face is downward bent, is 
answering him, for in the twilight Glencairn 
sees her lips move softly. 

He crosses the terrace so quietly that 
none of the group heed him till he is 
among them. He only glances at Duke and 
Zora with so brief and natural and placid 
a passing glance that Zora does not think 
his eyes were fixed on her a minute or two 
before, and so takes no fresh alarm. The 
conversation is general, and from the mo- 
ment Glencairn joins the group there is 
not another syllable uttered aside. Kate is 


cliattering gaily about some gipsy fortune 
told her on Hampstead Heath. 

" Six lovers — no less ! — I was to have. 
Fancy six lovers for one young woman 1 
Well, I'm waiting for my half dozen — have 
been waiting ever so long !" 

" There's time enough, Miss Craven ; not 
the slightest need to hurry," observes Duke. 
" Oh, but there is ! if I've got a round 
half dozen to dispose of, unless indeed they 
all come at once. The queen of the gipsies 
was much more complimentary to me than 
she was to Luli. I say, Luli, don't you 
recollect what fun we had ?" 

" She was an arrant old humbug, your 
gipsy," says Luli, smiling. 

" That's because she didn't allot you six 
lovers !" cries Kate. 

'* How many did she foretell to you, 


Lull ?" inquires the one lawful lover, wlio 
is perfectly aware that he has the field 
entirely to himself. 

" She would have foretold a hundred if 
she had thought I wanted them. She kept 
making random shots ; and each time she 
found she was on the wrong tack, she 
shifted about. She first allotted me a coal- 
black haired gentleman, and when she 
found I didn t want him, she began to hint 
at one next door to an Albino; and finally, if 
I remember right, allotted me one of each." 
. '* Did you ever have your fortune told, 
Zora?" asks Kate. 

" Several times, by cards. They always 
foretell a spade man for me," replied Zora, 
with the most perfect appearance of inno- 
cent frankness. Not that it is true, but 

VOL. IJ. s 


she thinks, all circumstances considered, it 
is a prudent thing to say. 

'' Spade man ! What, an agricultural 
labourer ?" inquires Duke. 

" You stupid ! no, a very, very dark man, 
the blackest possible," replies Kate. 

" That would be a nigger," laughs Luli. 
*' I don't think Zora would like a nigger !" 

" Cards are great fun ; but palmistry is 
the most interesting, and looks the most 
like real magic," pronounces Kate, with 
the air of an authority. '*I can tell for- 
tunes by the hand," she continues. " Here 
comes Pietro with the lamp, and now Til 
show you." 

Pietro and Assunta now appeared, bear- 
ing a small table, a big lamp, and the coffee 
tray, full of diminutive cups, with a doll's 
sugar bowl. They proceeded to set the 


table conveniently on the terrace, smiled 
in a friendly way on the group, uttered a 
complimentary remark to Luli, whose 
purely blonde beauty Assunta greatly ad- 
mired, and then withdrew, much after the 
fashion of two stage peasants making their 
exit with a bow from the door at the back 
of the stage. 

"Now," said Kate, 'Til tell somebody's 
fortune. Come along, Luli, Til begin with 
you." Kate pulled Luli's hand into the 
circle of light shed by the lamp, and bent 
her head over it. Luli, not very much 
interested, but mildly sympathetic, bent 
her head too. 

'^ Now you see," began Kate, gravely, 
with the air of a cicerone pointing out the 
beauties of a cathedral or a picture-gallery, 
*' those four lines make a big M. That 



means marria ge . Well, then — no w let me see 
— marriage; yes," continued Kate, evidently 
at a loss. '* Really, I can't find anything 
else. Luli, you haven't got half lines 
enough in your hand ; it is a most unsatis- 
factorily smooth hand. Zora, let me try 
yours. Now here, you see, is the large M 
again. Marriage. Yes. Well, now here 
— this complication of lines — I don't happen 
quite to know what this means. Mr. Glen- 
cairn, do you know ? — you are well up in 
those things, aren't you ?" 

" Shall I try my skill ?" asked Glencairn, 
in polite compliance with Kate's request, 
and courteous reference to Zora. 

Zora, whose cue in life was never to be 
rude to anyone, could not refuse ; but she 
would almost as soon have touched a 
poisonous snake as have laid her hand in 



Glencairn's ; and lie felt, with a sense of 
grim satisfaction, tliat lier fingers trem- 
bled, and shrank away perceptibly as lie 
toucbed tbem. 

" There's good and evil mingled in these 
lines," he said. " They are cross-roads, and 
lead in widely opposite directions. When 
the owner of this hand stands at the turn- 
ing-point indicated here, it will be well to 
be careful which road she takes." 

" Well, is that all ? Can't you tell her 
something about her spade man ?" asked 
Kate, anxious in her friend's interest. 

" I can read nothing more." 

" Well, I declare I told my fortunes just 
as well !" cried Kate. 

Then followed a general exhibition and 
comparison of hands. 

" Come, Mr. Mayburne, it's your turn !" 


said Kate. '^ I'll tell you such a nice 
fortune !" 

Kate took hold of Duke's hand as frankly 
and simply as she had taken those of her 
girl-friends, without an atom of coyness or 
coquetry, and spread it open in the light. 

^' First of all," she said, "here is the big 
M — marriage." 

'^ I believe everybody has that M — 
bachelors, old maids, and all ; so don't rely 
too much on it," said Mrs. Craven. 

"Now," continued Kate, "there ought 
to be an H somewhere, to mean happiness. 
But — there isn't ! Never mind ; here's 
a network of lines here. I don't quite 
know what they mean, but I daresay it is 
something nice. And now, what is this 
line with the cut across it ? Mr. Glencairn, 
come and help me again. See how this 


line breaks liere ! There is quite a deep 
cut across it ! What is it ?" 

Glencairn looked, and said rather curtlj, 
"I don't know." But something in his 
look suggested that he answered in the 
negative rather from want of will than want 
of power. And he added, with some in- 
voluntary betrayal of interest, *'It is a 
very deep cross. None of the other 
hands we have looked at to-night have such 
a cut." 

" What line is it ?" said Mr. Craven— 

" why, that's the line of life. Didn't you 
all know that ?" 

** Then what is this cut across it ?" asked 
outspoken Kate. 

" Some accident or misfortune, I sup- 
pose," said Glencairn, indifferently. 

*' Sudden death, I should fancy," ob- 


served tlie owner of the crossed line. 
'' And one miglit have a much worse 
fortune than that." 

" Oh, it's all stuff and nonsense !" put in 
Mr. Craven, hastily, meaning to be dis- 
creet and consoling. "Don't you take any 
heed of this nonsense, Luli, my dear." 

" I don't," said Luli, with a calm smile. 
** Palmistry contradicts itself, and different 
hands tell different stories." 

" How do you make out that palmistry 
contradicts itself?" asked Kate, leaning 
confidentially towards Luli, as the rest of 
the group gathered closer round the coffee- 
table ; " and don't you think it's odd ?" 

" Why, it is contradictory," said Luli, in 

a lowered voice, "because How could 

there really be a line of marriage in my 
hand if the line of life was cut short in Aw?" 


Kate did not advance tlie clear argu- 
ment that tlie line of marriage would of 
course occur in the hand of one destined 
to be a widow, but only said — 

" Why, Luli, you talk as if there was 
only one man in the world !" 

*' There is only one, I think — for each 
one woman," Luli replied. 

''Ah, I don't know whether statistics 
would bear that out," said Kate. "But — 
well, Luli, I think after all you are right. I 
hope — some day — " She hesitated, more 
softly and thoughtfully than usual. Even 
unromantic, outspoken, laughing Kate had 
as foolish a woman's heart as the rest ! 

That night the instincts that Glencairn 
over obeyed, the instincts which often 
misled him, though he never knew himself 
misled, drew him out upon the terrace when 


all the rest, save Duke, had retired to their 
rooms. He walked slowly up and down in 
the shadows, and noted that the lights 
were still shining in Kate's room and in 
Zora's ; but before he had been there many 
moments Kate's light was extinguished. 
He walked up and down awhile ; Zora s 
light burnt still. He descended the steps 
into the garden, keeping always in the 
shadow, and took up his post in a nook of 
the shrubbery on a grassy bank, from which 
he could command a full view along the 
terrace, and also the steps and the path at 
the foot of the steps so long as it ran 
straight. He had not waited there long 
when a tall, light, well-knit figure with a 
firm elastic step, appeared at the further 
end of the terrace, and came straight along 
it, full in view in the clear starlight. 


Opposite Zora*s window he paused for a 
moment and cast a hasty glance up at the 
light, and then continued his walk down 
the terrace. He stopped again in the 
shadow by the steps, waited a few minutes, 
and then paced, this time more slowly, the 
full length of the terrace again. 

Minutes passed; the solitary light still 
gleamed. What manner of a vigil was it 
shining on? What uncertainty, or w^hat 
resolution, what trouble or what hope, 
kept her from her rest? Of hope there 
was surely little in the aspect of her life 
just now. Of resolution in her nature 
there was little, now or ever. While that 
light still shone, Glencairn still watched in 
dogged patience ; Duke still waited, in 
silent impatience, perceptible to the 


While these two waited and watched, in 
secrecy which irked them and shame for 
which they yet did not blush, the one a trai- 
tor to his honour, the other a listener and 
a spy, both either naturally blinded or re- 
solutely blinding themselves to the disgrace 
of their position, the same soft dusky star- 
light that looked on them rested on the 
sleeping face of the one link between 
them, the daughter of the one, the ajfi- 
anced bride of the other. 

Amidst the dark and silent strife of con- 
flicting passions that was waging around 
her, she was sleeping, pure and peaceful as 
a child, unconscious of all these human 
struggles and sins and snares, as if they 
had been shadows coming and going on 
the wall while her eyes were closed in 
sleep. Guileless, and yet the cause of all 


this secrecy around her ; loyal and true, and 
yet the cause of her lover s deception ; 
innocent, and yet the cause of her father s 
sin ; pure as an angel, while the two whom 
she most loved in the world sank deeper 
in the dark sloughs of disloyalty and 
dishonour through her and for her sake — 
she slept unsuspectingly, with the trusting,, 
tranquil smile with which she had said her 
prayer for them still lingering on her lips. 

Duke, utterly unconscious of the eye& 
that were following his movements, waxed 
more and more impatient, and as the 
minutes wore away, and still Zora's light 
burned, and still she did not come, his 
very limited stock of patience melted 
entirely away. 

He waited at the foot of the balcony and 
looked up at the light. At last he set his- 


foot on the balcony stairs, for tlie first 
time. Invisible barriers, but more potent 
and compelling than iron bars, forced him 
back, but the gleam of that light and the 
silence drew him on. He stepped on to the 
second stair, and waited — then on to the 
third — fourth. He was not allowed to 
mount further than the fourth step. The 
light flickered and moved ; the curtain was 
pushed back ; the window opened softly 
^nd rapidly, and Zora was out, quick as a 
flash and soft as a shadow, on the balcony, 
and half-way down the balcony steps in a 

She drew Duke with her down to the 
terrace, and there, seizing his hand with a 
gesture that seemed to partake more of 
clinging terror than affection, she almost 
dragged him on down the garden stairs into 


the wavering shadows of the garden paths. 

'* Oh I you have frightened me out of my 
senses !" she says in . a panting whisper. 
^* Oh ! why are you so imprudent ? you 
might have been seen ! Kate — might 
have looked out of her window !" 

" Kate is sound asleep by this time. 
You are so late, darling — I have been 
waiting so long — and I want to talk to you 
— to ask you " 

" Oh, I cannot stay — a minute — I have 
only — only come to say — that this must be 
our last meeting." Zora's voice is broken 
and breathless. She is fairly gasping with 
terror. Duke notices with amazement that 
this is something far more than and far 
different from her usual timidity. 

*'I should not have come now," she con- 
tinues hurriedly, in the same agitated tone, 


**od1j you — I saw you — and was afraid — 
some one else might see. I was sitting up 
thinking. It must be our last meeting 
this — our last." 

" Why, Zora, my dearest child, my poor 
timorous little darling, what is the matter ?* 

" For God's sake don't speak so loud!" 
she gasps in a terrified whisper, with a 
nervous start ; and as his arm is round her, 
it seems to him that that support alone 
keeps her from falling, for she is trembling 
in every limb like an aspen in the breeze. 
The Autumn night is chill ; but it is not 
the cold that makes her shiver and cling to 

" Hush ! be calm, sweet ! don't tremble 
so ! tell me what has frightened you. I 
will take care of you." 

She is in mortal terror, for she knows 


she is breaking her promise to Glencairn, 
and although she does not know of his 
presence, her fear of him weighs like a 
nightmare on her soul. But she loves 
Duke so absorbingly that beneath his 
caressing soothing even her fear begins to 
melt ; and when he says, with his strong 
arm clasped round her, *' I will take care 
of you," she draws her breath easier with 
something of relief, with the natural wo- 
manly sense of reliance, " I am safe with 
him /" that is one of the most laughable, 
unreasonable, maddest, wildest, most in- 
variable and universal instincts of a 
woman's love. Against assailants too 
strong for a battalion to cope with, a 
woman deems the presence of the man she 
loves a secure shelter and an all-powerful 
shield! So Zora's terror calms, and she 



sighs as she endeavours to collect herself 
sufficiently to tell him steadily and reso- 
lutely that these interviews must end at 
once and for ever. But it is hard to say, as 
it will be harder to carry out. And she is 
trembling still and cannot trust her voice ; 
and it is far more tempting to be silent 
than to speak such words. 

She looks up to him for strength ; she 
clings to him, in trusting appealing con- 
fidence, as though he, poor reed, were a 
rock of safety ; and their lips meet in one 
of those stolen kisses whose sweetness is 
scarcely marred by even the sharp stings 

of conscience and terror. 

One slender ray of light from the cres- 
cent moon, which is glimmering among the 
tangled tree-tops, beams upon her fair, 
pale face, and Duke's handsome head bend- 


ing to meet it, and touches with silver the 
tremulous little white hands that are 
clasped upon Duke's shoulder. 

The watcher cannot hear what they say, 
but he can see this plainly. He sees that 
her lips move ; he sees that Duke replies ; 
but only a syllable now and then of the 
words they utter reach his ear. She speaks 
so softly and tremulously, her voice is 
quite inaudible to him. But as they draw 
nearer the foot of the marble steps, he 
hears Duke's clearer and less subdued 
voice say — 

" There can be no danger, sweet. You 
must try to see me to-morrow." 

** No, no — we must not venture ; it is so 
fearfully dangerous. Duke, I inust go 
now. Good night." 

" Good night, then, darling. Stay one 

T 2 


moment ! Look out for a letter to-morrow 
in the usual place. I may write, anyhow. 
That must be all safe. Do not tremble so, 
Zora. Don't frighten yourself. Trust me 
to care for you more anxiously than you 
care for yourself." 

Zora drew a deep sigh, that became 
almost a sob. 

"Good night— good-bye !" she said, with 
a hopelessly despondent look and tone. 
She despaired of being able, in those few 
agitated moments, to make it clear to him 
that this must be the end. She despaired 
of her own power to break the bonds that 
yet she knew must not and could not hold. 
She dared not tell him her reasons for 
alarm. Coward as she was, she would 
sooner have given herself up to death than 
have risked bringiug Duke into open 


collision with Glencairn. It was for him 
rather than for herself she trembled — 
and through fear lest he, whom she loved, 
should, in rashness, in indignation, in cour- 
age, or in too late truth, provoke a quarrel 
with him whom she feared — that she dared 
not speak. 

She had resolved to shake herself free 
with one effort, and she saw, despairingly, 
that the meshes of the net clung around 
her still. Too weak to defy or determine, 
she temporised, evaded, and, in her heart, 
postponed, " until to-morrow." 

Duke, not knowing what cause she had 
for terror, yet strangely stirred by her 
agitation, and by the utter abandonment 
of trust and terror in which she had clung 
to him, caught her back to his heart 
impetuously as she turned to leave him. 


whispering in her hopelessly sad and 
quivering tone, " Good night — good-bye !" 

"Not good-bye!" he said. ''I cannot 
lose you, Zora! My darling, good night 
— but not good-bye !" 

Those words fell plainly upon 61encairn*s 
ear, and plainly he saw the passion and the 
pain and the self-conflict on the two faces 
that drew together slowly and irresistibly, 
and then, yet more lingeringly, parted. 
And the conviction came home to him that 
it would be easier to tear the iron from the 
loadstone rock than to part those two from 
one another, " so long as they both should 

As Duke and Zora, in silence and 
caution, ascended to the terrace and 
separated, they never dreamt of the sombre 
eyes that witnessed their good-night kiss. 


When Zora had drawn her curtain and put 
out her light, and sighed as she laid her 
head upon her pillow, and closed her eyes, 
heavy and dim with fast-flowing tears, 
even she, with all her sensitive, instinctive, 
deep-rooted terror of Glencairn, never 
suspected that down in the further, lower 
garden-paths, he whom she dreaded was 
pacing to and fro, unresting, the only 
living, moving creature in the midnight 
silence, silent himself, like a black shadow 
amidst the shadows, and still seeing, in his 
mind's eye, her face and Duke's, as the pale 
light of the crescent moon had revealed 
them to him an hour ago. 

"There is some truth in palmistry," 
Glencairn said to himself before he slept 
that night. " It seems to me that the 
time has come, and it is to be. The means 


lie ready to my hand, I know. It was in 
vain my seeking to bar the way that they 

must tread. It was written that it should 

come to this. I knew from the first that 

some evil must come of it." 



*' Oh, evil was the root, and bitter was the fruit, 
And crimson was the juice of the vintage that we trod !" 


TN the garden tlie next morning, in the 
bright early sunshine under the pure 
blue sky, while every little swaying twig 
and trembling leaf is distinctly outlined in 
the clear light, an unconscious game of 
cross-purposes is being silently played 
among the human beings who in all that 
clear defining light, that picks out every 
tiny insect on the branch, cannot catch one 
glimpse into each other's spirits. 

The three girls are wandering up and 


down, chatting in a languid desultory way. 
Glencairn is lounging along beside them, 
looking moody, and rather ^^glum," as 
Kate would say ; but that in him is nothing 
new. Kate is lively of accent as usual 
when she speaks, but is sauntering on in 
lazily silent contentment for half the time ; 
and Luli and Zora, who do not as a rule, 
unless some interesting topic is started, talk 
much, are not contributing largely to the 
conversation. Zora is not now the pale, 
trembling, agitated girl who last night clung 
so terrifiedly and despairingly to Duke's 
arm in the starlight. She is calm and 
smiling, though not actually mirthful, on 
the surface ; and only in her heart she is 
anxious and oppressed. She shrinks away in 
spirit, although she dares not shrink openly, 
before Glencairn ; she cannot breathe freely 


in his presence ; slie dreads lest his eyes 
should force her to betray herself ; and to 
preserve her habitual amiable serenity of 
countenance costs her an unusual struggle. 
Yet she cannot turn back and leave the 
rest of the group together, first because 
Kate would loudly demand, "Where are 
you going ? You can't be tired ?" second- 
ly because, although she half trusts that 
Duke cannot have been so rash, in the face 
of her alarm last night, as to attempt any 
communication by letter this morning, yet 
until she can assure herself that no piece 
of folded paper is lurking concealed in " the 
usual place," she does not dare to leave 
that part of the garden, especially as Glen- 
cairn is near, 

Glencairn on his side more than half 
suspects that there is a written message 


waiting somewhere for her, and is fully 
determined that she shall not obtain posses- 
sion of it unnoticed. He has seen in a 
casual passing glance through the open 
window of Duke's room Duke seemingly 
absorbed in writing hurriedly and impetu- 
ously. All business of letter-writing is 
generally transacted in the salon, still of 
course it does not by any means follow 
that a letter written hastily in privacy must 
of necessity be for Zora. But he deems it 
worth watching. He knows that Duke 
went down the garden and out through the 
lower gate for a ramble without the slightest 
•chance of even a second's communication 
with Zora. Therefore in case he should 
have imprudently trusted any message for 
her to pen and paper, it cannot yet have 
been transferred to her, and must conse- 


quently be lying ready for her, somewhere 
— in " the usual place," as referred to last 
night, probably — and there she would na 
doubt search for it whenever she should 
find an opportunity. But ^' under six 
eyes " the opportunity is a difficult thing to 

Zora, having no idea that her enemy wit- 
nessed her stolen interview last night, or 
that he can have any reason for suspecting 
the possibility of a correspondence this 
morning, is under no immediate apprehen- 
sion, and is only troubled by vague nervous- 
ness, as to the possible letter that may be 
lurking so near to him. She manoeuvres 
several times in vain to get before, or 
linger behind, or in some way, without 
attracting notice, to separate herself from 
the rest of the group, but her cautious and 


timid attempts at strategy are of no avail. 

Once as slie passes by tlie rustic trellis- 
work forming a kind of arbour wliere tbe 
hiding-place lurks, slie casts a quick, half- 
involuntary, nervous, scrutinizing glance up- 
wards towards the chosen corner. And 
rapid as lightning, keen as a falcon, Glen- 
<5airn's eye flashes after hers, unseen by her, 
unnoted by the others. It is a momentary 
look, but he has observed and interpreted. 

It occurs to him, and he smiles grimly to 
himself at the thought, that the situation 
is suggestive of a farce. Two people of 
opposite sexes, each with an eye on a 
suspected hiding-place ; one watching the 
other; the second endeavouring to avoid 
the vigilance of the first. It is just the 
thing that would happen in a light comedy 
with a happy ending. As they walk up 


and down, and pass and re-pass the spot, 
he is conscious, above all the thoughts that 
are seething in the morbid depths of his 
heart, of a strong superficial amusement 
and interest in the game of cross-purposes 
they are playing, of a reflection as calm as 
philosophy as to the closeness with which 
tragedy sometimes treads on the heels of 

Kate unconsciously comes to his assist- 
ance by proposing to Luli to go down to 
the bottom of the garden and see if there 
are any signs of "the beloved one's" re- 
turn. Luli is nothing loth, and Zora, fear- 
ing to be left tete-a-tete with Glencairn, is 
reluctantly constrained to follow them. 

So Glencairn is alone, close to the trellis- 
work to one corner of which he has traced 
Zora's apprehensive watchful glance. 


Half an hour afterwards, the occupation 
of walking about the garden has palled on 
the three girls, and they have returned to 
the house. Still Zora has found no chance 
of a search ; and all this while Glencairn 
has waited and watched in dogged patience 
near the place, with the paper she is long- 
ing to seek for folded in his breast. 

A quarter of an hour after that, Duke 
has returned from his ramble, has come in 
by the garden-gate, and is lounging at 
the bottom of the garden. He is standing 
leaning with crossed arms over the marble 
balustrade ; he has got a cigar as usual, at 
which he is pulling away rather more 
slowly and meditatively than usual ; in 
fact he has once or twice almost let it 
extinguish itself. He is staring across the 
lake at the purple Autumn hills. 

GLENCAIllN. 289 

The beauty of the Indian Summer is 
almost over now. It will linger yet a little 
longer, but is waning day by day. The 
fallen blossoms, the last of Summer, are 
decayed and trodden into the ground. In 
all the foliage the burnished gold and 
ripening russet are battling with and van- 
quishing the Summer green. The delicate 
leaves of the acacia are dropping in a pale 
shower on the ground, and seem to be sigh- 
ing a farewell as the light breeze stirs them 

Duke is wrapt in thought, certainly not 
of a sanguine nature ; there is sore perplex- 
ity and distress in his mind as he contem- 
plates the position in which he has placed 
himself. His reflections are wandering, and 
not such as promise to lead to action ; but 
he is quite absorbed in them, and uncon- 



scious that Glencairn is only a few yards 
off, looking at him. 

There is a strange expression in Glen- 
cairn's eyes — the look which Zora has once, 
and once only, seen there, and which she 
will never forget — the look in which the 
savage prevails, predominates over all else ; 
only it is intensified now. It is not actual 
madness, and yet no sane and healthy 
mind ever reflected to the eye that fierce 
and half furtive gleam. It is literally a 
tigerish and terrible craving to destroy; 
it is the outcome of the potentiality that 
lurks deep, deep down — often never be- 
traying itself, often never even suspected 
— in every morbidly imaginative and pas- 
sionate nature. It is this potentiality, 
underlying all deep passion — be it of love 
or hate, of avarice, patriotism, or ambition 


— that is tlie mainspring moving to so 
many murders of the kind which startle 
and interest us because they are not the act 
of the mere mercenary assassin taking life 
for gold, nor the blow struck in hasty 
scuffle or drunken quarrel. It is some 
latent savagery working to the surface ; 
it is the barbaric element which sleeps in 
the depths of those natures capable of 
**the love that kills/' which may be roused, 
when those depths are stricken, to the de- 
struction equally of the objects of their love 
and of their hate — dangerous always, — fatal 
alike in their jealousy and their revenge. 

Such a nature was Glencairn s, full of 
that destructive instinct and power, with a 
creed of morbid fatalism that paralysed 
half his intellectual faculties, and lashed 
the other half into feverish and half insane 



activity, while all his moral faculties seemed 
unbalanced and twisted awry. 

He looked at Duke steadily, from head 
to foot, with that tiger-like expression in 
which there mingled a certain measure- 
ment, a comparison of strength and 
appraising of forces. 

Duke is long and strong of limb, deep 
of chest, and broad of shoulder. There is 
a good deal of careless, easy strength and 
latent energy about the pose of his well- 
knit, supple figure. Probably he would be 
much more than a match for Glencairn, 
although the latter is sinewy and spare 
and strongly built also. Possibly, too, there 
is something in the contemplation of this 
very youth and strength and beauty that 
subtly and undefinably tends to work upon 
the destructive instinct, and wake it into 


insaner activity than it is aroused already. 

Awaking suddenly to the inexplicable 
but never-misleading consciousness that 
somebody is looking at him, Duke turns 
and glances around. As he does so, Glen- 
cairn s look changes in a second ; over that 
betraying, ominous flicker in his eye there 
darkens a shadow of restraint and secrecy. 
The two men, standing alone together, 
look each in the other's face. One subject 
is uppermost in both their minds. Each 
wonders what is the other s thoughts 

If they had spoken — if but one word 
had been uttered to break the ice, and lead 
to that subject that lay so near the surface, 
the whole current of other lives than only 
theirs might have been changed. If either 
one of them had but spoken that word, even 
had it led but to collision and to quarrel, 


how different might all things thereafter- 
wards have been ! But neither of them 
chose to lead to a discussion with the 
other. Duke removed his cigar from his 
lips, and looked ready to respond, but 
resolute not to start any discussion. He 
felt rather than saw something odd and 
forbidding in Glencairn's manner. Glen- 
cairn, on his part, looked at him only for 
a moment with his secret, unfathomable 
eyes, and passed on in a silence which, in 
any other man, would have been strange, 
but in him was nothing very peculiar. 

So the chance of an explanation alighted 
for a moment, and then fled away and was 
lost, as utterly as the bird that lit on that 
branch, and then soaring away into the in- 
finite blue, was lost to sight for ever- 


It is the afternoon of that day ; and tlie 
inmates of the Villa Serboni are on the 
terrace as usual. It is a safe thing to pre- 
dicate of them that whenever they are not 
eating or sleeping, or on an excursion, they 
are on the terrace. It is a bright, warm 
afternoon ; the rays of the sun of the Indian 
Summer are fierce and powerful still, al- 
though the evenings close in fresh and 
chilly now. 

Glencairn, who always chooses the sun- 
niest spot, who, according to Kate's de- 
scription of him, could live in fire like a 
salamander, is basking in the warmest and 
brightest rays, seated on one of the stone 
benches, with the day's Gdlignani in his 
hand. Kate and Zora are leaning against 
the balustrade near him, absorbed in some 
confidential whispered conversation, laying 


their heads very close together. The sub- 
ject of this confidence is probably some mys- 
terious flirtation of Kate^s — some hinted 
admiration en passant of an Italian noble- 
man or a British tourist — for Zora is evi- 
dently playing the role of sympathising and 
interested listener. 

In a cool shady nook, discreetly far from 
Zora, Duke Mayburne is holding a discus- 
sion with Mr. and Mrs. Craven. They are 
dabbling shallowly, with a mild and non- 
chalant interest, in foreign politics ; the 
lady is expressing in a careless and casual 
way her utter want of faith in the then 
Emperor Napoleon. A cigar-case and a box 
of fusees are on the table beside them ; and 
the two gentlemen, watching the blue curls 
of smoke melt away upwards in the inter- 
vals of conversation, look happy with the 


peculiarly placid happiness of the smoker 
well content with the quality of his weed, 
whose aspect generally suggests that all 
his troubles and perplexities are dispersing 
and dissolving away in the fragrant haze. 

The groups are thus distributed when 
Luli comes out upon the terrace ; light and 
graceful in her white fluttering dress, with 
her quick soft step that scarcely sounds, 
she crosses the broad sunny space and 
comes amongst them almost unnoticed. 
She passes by Kate and Zora with a smile ; 
she pauses a moment to exchange a look 
with Duke, to let her sleeve brush his 
shoulder, her hand rest there for a moment, 
as she passes him slowly and lingeringly. 
Then she goes on to her father's side, and 
hangs over his shoulder, and peeps at the 
newspaper which he is idly scanning with 


a mind far away. He looks up at her un- 
smilingly, but with a look tliat tells her her 
presence is ever welcome. 

" Not tired, child ?" he says — for they 
have been out a great part of the day, and 
Luli is not a good walker. 

" No," she answers, with her soft smile. 
"Not a bit tired. Padre mio. And what 
are you reading here all alone so solemnly?" 

She parts his dark grizzled hair play- 
fully and caressingly with her slim white 
hands, and twists one lock round her finger 
into a curl. How pretty and bright and 
fair and peaceful she looks ! and yet how 
pale and fragile a creature this darling of 
his heart is ! 

"Are you well? are you strong now, 
child ?" he asks her gravely, with something 
strangely anxious and yearning in his eyes. 


" Quite strong and well, dear," slie an- 

*' Strong enough to bear some — fatigue, 
now, are you not ?" 

** Yes ; but you never let me have any 
fatigue to bear ! I am such a spoilt child !"^ 
she says with tender, playful reproach. 

'* I cannot save you from every trial, 
you know, my little girl," he observes 
quietly. ** But I can keep guard over you 
and see that you shall never be left to bear 
trouble alone." 

^*I think I could bear anything with 
you and Duke," she responds simply and 
softly. She does not notice how sternly 
her father's face sets into a look of sup- 
pressed pain and defiance. 

" Or with Duke alone, if I were gone, I 
don't doubt," he responds calmly, but with 


a tinge of bitterness ; and his eyes turn for 
a moment towards Duke with a strange 
expression which it would have puzzled 
Luli to define, all the more because in it 
there is a momentary betraying glimmer of 
the spirit which she has never seen and 
would not understand. 

''Now dont talk about being 'gone.' 
Here you are, and I have got you safe !" 
she says, half jestingly, but very tenderly 
and caressingly. 

"Yes, you have me!" he replies, and 
forces a shadow of a smile. 

That evening, like the previous one, they 
have their after-dinner coffee on the 
terrace. Again Assunta brings the lamp 
and the little table ; again they assemble in 
the wavering circle of lamplight, and Mrs. 
Craven fills the tiny cups and dispenses 


them. They do not amuse themselves with- 
fortune-telling this night ; but laugh and 
are merry, with louder laughter and more 
general mirth than usual. 

Some amongst them have reasons for 
feigning mirth. Zora, anxious to seem 
easy and untroubled, joins eagerly in every 
burst of laughter, seizes a prominent part 
in every passing jest. Duke also avails 
himself of every opportunity of manifesting 
that he is in such good spirits as become a 
clear conscience ; indeed in all the merri- 
ment he takes the lead ; but with him 
these high spirits are not wholly feigned. 
He is impressionable, and very liable to 
moods and reactions, and singularly sensi- 
tive too to the mental atmosphere of those 
around ; he responds readily to any chord, 
and is generally gay with the gay and 


gloomy with the gloomy. This night he 
catches the atmosphere rather as it seems 
than as it is. For not every laugh that 
rings out and startles the gray twilight this 
evening is as genuine as Duke Mayburne's. 
He is in an excited, hilarious mood. Has the 
sad, longing, passionate look, that once 
this day has flashed from Zora's eyes to 
his, anything to do with the high-strung 
excitement that plunges him into reckless 
gaiety, as under other circumstances it 
would plunge him into sullen gloom ? Is 
he waiting impatiently to keep the tryst 
appointed in the letter he has no reason to 
suppose that she has not received ? Or 
does he dimly perceive or suspect that 
some crisis is near, and does the conscious 
imminence of a climax thrill him with the 
delight of the soldier who, after long 


enforced lying perdu in the thickets, 
bucklers for the battle in the open field ? 

Glencairn has all day alternated between 
moody silence and an unusual tendency to 
turn everything into somewhat biting 
jests — all the portion of the day, that is, 
during which he has been with the rest of 
the party. But for a great part of the day 
he has been shut up in his own room. 
Now he too forces laughter and joins in 
the general mirth. Only he watches Duke 
with an odd intentness as if he were 
watching, waiting, looking for something 

Even Luli to-night is not as wholly 
frank and undisguised as usual. She over- 
colours her gaiety ; it is just a shade 
brighter than is purely natural. She too 
is anxious to seem happy and at ease. Lurk- 


ing in her liearfc, only half acknowledged, 
and kept well hidden down out of sight, is 
a seed of something that might develope 
into jealousy, but is only now a kind of 
pained perplexity at the interest in Zora 
which Duke has unconsciously betrayed 
during this day. Zora's conduct has been 
quite unexceptionable, even in the eyes of 
the most exacting ^awcc',* but Duke, whose 
curiosity was aroused by Zora's agitation 
the previous night, and who has failed to 
find an opportunity of a single private word 
with her to-day, has once or twice careless- 
ly let the mask of polite indifference slip, 
and looked at her with intentness and 
watchful inquiry. So all these four catch 
more readily at simpler jests, and laugh 
more ringingly and frequently than even 
the light-hearted Cravens, who suspect no 


under-current beneath the smooth, brightly 
rippling surface of the river. But the 
under-current is flowing dark and deep ; 
none save one dream of its darkness and 
its depth, nor foresee whither its resistless 
force is tending. 

They are merry, and laugh; and only 
one knows the black shadow that crouches 
there in wait by them, or hears the mock- 
ing echo of every laugh. And he looks to 
the heavens and wonders — will no star 
fall ? Will no invisible writing start out 
from the darkness in warning ? 

When the hour of good night comes, the 
great marble hall echoes to the confusion 
of foot-steps, light and heavy, and of voices 
of every tone of the gamut, from Kate's 
soprano down to her fathers bass, as 
everybody bids good night to everyone 



else, and then the majority relapse into 
conversation again, so as to necessitate a 
second series of good nights. The party 
breaks up at last however ; Mrs. Craven is 
the first to ascend the broad staircase ; 
Kate and Zora follow her more slowly, 
Zora with her fingers tingling still from 
one parting pressure that they received 
from one man's hand ; for Duke, un- 
able to exchange a word in private with 
her, as his father-in-law elect happened 
just then to be gazing at him with un- 
comfortable intentness, had resorted to 
this method of silent eloquence. While 
Kate and Zora follow Mrs. Craven, Luli 
lingers still, and saunters to the open glass 
door, and looks out upon the terrace, and 
observes how lovely the night is. This 
innocent little manoeuvre is a means to the 
end of obtaininof a second and more 


secluded good night to her lover, apart 
from the public eye. Duke dutifully follows 
her, and tries to look as if it was pure 
accident. Glencairn glances towards them, 
and observes to Mr. Craven lightly, " We'll 
leave those young people to have their 
good night." Mr. Craven smiles and nods ; 
and thinks that Glencairn is a very good- 
natured fellow, and will be a very desirable 
father-in-law. But Mr. Craven is more 
kind-hearted than he is sharp-sighted, and 
takes little heed of subtle shades of look 
and tone. 

So Duke and Luli have their good night, 
and he takes her in his arms and kisses her 
as it is his habit to do, not more warmly 
and not more coldly than usual. 

" "We have had a merry evening, haven't 

we, dear ?" he says. 



" Yes." 

*' And wliy * yes ' in so pensive a tone ?'* 
he asks, in a carelessly caressing way. *' Is 
anything the matter, dear ?" he adds, more 
tenderly as she does not reply. 

"Nothing, my boy, nothing," she an- 
swers, lifting up her face to his with a 
frank, soft, loving smile, and answering 
truly too. Nothing is the matter now ; it 
seems to her as if nothing ever could he any 
matter, while they are together, with none 
to come between them, and he is, or seems, 
by look and accent and caresses, hers, and 
hers only. The little cloud of half -jealous, 
pained perplexity vanishes into thin air, 
and is no more. Luli is simple-minded 
• and simple, rather through innocence than 
through stupidity. But she is a little 
obtuse in her unsuspicious, unenlightened 


innocence. Secure in her own truth, she 
never doubts that others are as true. In a 
love so simple and all-absorbing as hers, 
all clouds melt away under the light of the 
presence of the beloved. With Duke's 
arm round her, and her head upon his 
breast, she forgets her half-discontented 
wondering and watching. She is in that 
Paradise of the perfect faith and the limit- 
less confidence of guileless love, which none 
who have left it behind may re-enter, for 
the flaming sword keeps guard at the gate. 
But the flaming sword of knowledge has 
never seared the spotless whiteness of 
Luli's ignorant innocence. In trustful 
blindness and in self -forgetting love she 
smiles a sweet and tender good-night, and 
leans her fair head back for one last part- 
ing kiss. So they take their leave, and 


Lulfs white dress flutters away across the 
hall and up the marble stairs ; and Duke 
looks after her, and then glances out upon 
the terrace and at the balcony steps, re- 

Glencairn*s all-observing eye notices the- 
look, if not its expression. He is standing 
now alone in the great dim shadowy hall, 
rigid and upright and still, as if he were 
frozen to a statue; watching the last 
glimmer of his daughter's white dress, 
watching her lover's half -irresolute atti- 
tude, as dumbly and sternly as he had 
watched their parting good-night, and 
looking at Duke, he says in his heart, 

*' You are thinking of the tryst you will 
keep to-night ? Yes, it is there that she 
will look for you — it is there that she will 
be waiting for you, soon !" 



*' One hour 
Ripened the deadly fruit of that fell flower." 


nn HE night was one of clouded starlight. 
Black banks of cloud were piled up 
behind the black hills, and blended with 
them in the darkness, so that there was no 
outline to mark where the hills ended and 
the clouds began. [Banners of lighter 
cloud streamed upwards from those hills, 
and stretched away across the sky, as if 
jealous to hide all the beauty of the hea- 
vens that those deep sunken clouds in 
sinking had left unveiled. Yet between 


those envious floating shadows of dusky 
grey cloud there broke broad rifts of the 
pure divine blue, 

*' That clear-obscure, 
So softly dark and darkly pure," 

all alight with stars that made the lower 

darkness visible. 

Zora looked out into the shadows with 

straining eyes. Her light was burning 
late that night, and she sat by her windo\^ 
lost in thought, watching, wondering — 
would he come ? She had had no sign 
from him that day ; she did not know o: 
the written message that had been inter- 
cepted ; the eager, burning words of love 
poured out in imprudent black and white 
for her, had never met her eyes. She did 
not expect him to keep the usual tacitly 
acknowledged tryst that night ; she did 


not wish him to do so, and thought of the 
possibility with rather terror than with 
hope ; but yet as the minutes wore on and 
the time at which they generally met was 
passing fast, she bent her ear and started 
at every sound like a footstep, and gazed 
long and eagerly, with the^tremor of a sus- 
pense that had nothing to say to hope, 
from behind her curtains on to the desert- 
ed terrace. 

He would not come ! surely he would not 
come ! But if he were to come, if he were 
so rash, so mad, so heedless of her warning 
and her entreaty, then she must go to meet 
him. She would seize this one last oppor- 
tunity, if she should see his tall figure 
emerge from the shadows into the starlight 
again this nisrht. She would avail herself 
of the chance of saying the words that 


must be spoken. She would tell liim reso- 
lutely now that all must end ; she would 
summon all her force and courage to speak 
firmly and finally the words that she had 
too hastily and agitatedly uttered the pre- 
vious night. 

Hush ! was that not a step on the 
terrace ? did not a shadow move ? No ; 
it was not he. • Only a little wind is rising 
and murmuring through the trees, and the 
bending branches make the shadows stir. 
But it is not too late for him. He may 
come yet. 

So, if he comes, she is prepared and 
resolute, and has determined what to say ; 
she has the Avords ready in her mind with 
which she will bid him forget her, and re- 
turn to his allegiance to Luli, who loves him 
too. That night, if words are spoken be- 


tween them at all, they shall be words of 
fixed and final farewell. 

And then? What then? what after- 
wards ? 

Could she stay here, with them, with him,, 
until the party broke up ? Could she bear 
the whole long "Winter through, in his 
presence, yet separated from him? Yet 
how could she leave ? On what excuse 
could she, alone as she was, leave her best 
friends and throw herself alone on the 
world in a foreign country ? True, there 
might be no need for her to go. He might 
be called back to London ; it was not cer- 
tain how long his stay in Italy might be. 
And if he were gone, her life would be 
empty, desolate — but safe. To part from 
him — for ever; to lose the love she had 
no right to win ; to end the story that 


should never have been begun — how hard 
it seemed! Could they part utterly and 
for ever ? She had promised to Glencairn 
that they would, and she honestly meant 
to keep her word, though probably it was 
rather from instinctive and now ineradic- 
able terror than from any sense of duty or 
•conscience that she held her resolution. 
She would allow herself but one last word 
— one last kiss — and that should be the 
end. Oh ! saddest and bitterest of words ! 
the end ! 

Yet who could tell the future ? and what 
strange stories she had heard of early 

lovers long parted and united at last ! she 

thought with a vague and half-comforted 

wonder, letting her fancy roam free in the 

boundless fields of possibility, For Hope, 

in youth, is hydra-headed, and Fate cannot 


slay it. Some where, far, far off in the 
most dreamy and shadowy fields of future 
possibilities, she had a vision of herself as a 
graceful, sad-eyed widow in deep mourning 
— a widow in mourning robes was a more 
romantic vision than a spinster — of Duke 
as a melancholy but not inconsolable 
widower — of a final union, not gay with 
bridal music and festivity, but solemn and 
quiet in some old country church with 
stained-glass windows. But alas ! what a 
brief and passing dream was this ! how far 
off, and improbable to the very verge of 
impossibility ! how near and dark loomed 
up the inexorable shadow of parting ! 

The night is wearing on ; and still he 
does not come. The wind is moaning: 
higher; the cloud- wrack is drifting faster 



" Outside it's merry in the wind's wake ; 
In the shaken trees the chill stars shake." 

It is too late now. *' He will not come 1" 
She siglis as slie says it ; she does not 
know whether his non-appearance is most 
a relief or an anxiety to her. It is a 
postponement of a risk ; and a postpone- 
ment also of the end. But the risk 
must be run — if not this day, then the 
next ; for she cannot part from him with- 
out one partinp^ word, in spite of all her 
promises to Glencairn. And the end must 
come; and the forces of resolution she 
has mustered into array to-night must be 
gathered together again. Though it is too 
late, she is sure, she waits and watches 
still. Her watch may be wrong ; her 
candle is still burning. Perhaps he may 
come yet. 


What is that sound ? Some sharp, sud- 
den sound, like an echo from far off, 
startles her. No, it is nothing ; some 
branch has snapped suddenly in the wind. 
How the wind is wailing ! It makes her 
fanciful; she thinks she hears voices call 
her, sees forms in the moving shadows. 
Still she waits, and waits, till her candle has 
flickered out — waits, although she knows 
now he will not come, till the darkness 
frightens her, and she gropes huri'iedly, 
tremblingly to her bed. There she lies 
awake, restless, sighing through all the 
weary watches of the night that seems so 
long. The cold, steely light of dawn 
breaks across the east ; the scarlet glow of 
sunrise floods the purple hills with a 
^'prophesying morning red," before sleep 
seals her eyes at last. 


At the usual time, when the early break- 
fast of coffee and hot rolls was laid in the 
salon, Mr. and Mrs. Craven were the first 
to present themselves at table. After them, 
one by one, the three girls appeared, fresh 
and fair in their pretty white morning 
dresses; and two of them cast a quick 
glance around, as if in search of another 
member of the party. Glencairn was the 
next to enter, and he also glanced round. 

" Duke is up and out early," he observed, 
as he drew his chair to the table, standiuor 
with his back to the light. " I rapped at 
his door in passing, and got no answer. I 
suppose he has gone out for a walk — for I 
have been all round the garden." 

" And isn't he there ? He must be out 
walking, then — though he is not very fond 
of before-breakfast walks," said Luli 


easily, while Zora turned unaccouutably 

*^ How ill you look, my dear !" said Mrs. 
Craven, observing her pallor, but not 
observing how suddenly it had come over 
her face. 

" I got up with a bad headache," said 
Zora, sweetly. 

** Shall we wait for Duke?" asked Mrs. 

" Oh no, don't wait, dear," said Luli, 
smiling. " He won't be long." 

So they sat down ; but Luli did not 
begin her breakfast, nor Zora hers. The 
rest had scarcely had time to do more than 
sip their coffee, when Assunta came into 
the room, open-eyed with wonder. ^* The 
young Signer had not slept in his room. 



His bed liad not been toucbed all night. 
Why was this ? Where was he ?" 

When they comprehended Assunta's 
rapid Italian speech, everybody looked 
startled. Mrs. Craven and Kate exclaimed 
loudly. Mr. Craven and Glencairn ex- 
changed grave, inquiring looks. Luli now 
turned very pale, but could not be paler 
than Zora, who trembled all over, and 
looked about to faint ; but nobody noticed 
her, for everybody's eyes naturally turned 
towards Luli. 

After their first exclamations, Mrs. 
Craven and Kate suddenly fell into silence, 
and looked as grave as the rest, realising, 
as the rest did, that it was something more 
than ''odd" or "funny." 

" Very strange. We had better go and 
see about it. Craven," said Glencairn, rising 


up. "Now, don't be scared, Luli. Very 
likely there's nothing wrong," he added; 
but the comfort was gravely spoken. 

" Are there — any brigands about ?" asked 
Luli, in a faltering voice. 

"None that I ever heard of," replied 
Glencairn. *' Come down to his room first, 
Craven, hadn't we better ?" 

" Very strange indeed," repeated the 
two men, looking at each other, as they 
stood in Duke's deserted room, while the 
ladies flocked together across the hall, 
Kate and her mother wondering in sub- 
dued voices, Luli and Zora pale and 

" Did you hear him enter his room 
last night ?" asked Craven of Glencairn. 

" No, not that I remember. I generally 



sleep too soundly to wake at the opening 
or shutting of his door.*' 

"Where shall we look for him?" said 
Luli, laying her hand on her father's arm, 
as they stood on the threshold of Duke's 

" God knows ! Craven, you and I and 
Pietro had better go off in different 

Mr. Craven looked at Luli, as if he 
would recommend that cautionary words 
should be used before her, and began to 
suggest — half aside — that possibly it might 
be better if they did not take too grave a 
view of the matter. While they stood 
discussing it, they heard a murmur of 
voices approaching, and a noise at the hall 

Luli started violently, and felt her 


heart stop beating. Her father cast his 
arm round her, and held her so tightly that 
it would have hurt her had she been at that 
moment susceptible of pain. 

" Open the door," he said with an 
authoritative gesture, and Assunta flew to 
obey. Zora stood clutching Kate's hand, 
her great dark eyes fixed upon Glencairn, 
and so ghastly a pallor and so strange an 
expression on her face that even Kate 
noticed it, though no suspicion of the 
reason crossed Kate's mind. 

The door was opened, and in poured a 
small crowd of Italians, men and women. 
They began a flood of eloquence, before 
half of which was done, Assunta burst into 
loud lamentations and beofan wrin2rin<2: her 

Luli stood as if turned to stone, listen- 


ing, half incredulous, half stunned. " What 
— what — are they saying?'* she gasped 

As the climax of their narrative, they all 
turned and pointed to the door, where a 
sound of slower footsteps, of more hushed 
voices, now became audible. Luli started 
and shuddered as if she had been stabbed, 
and struggled to free herself from her 
father's arm. Now for the first time Glen- 
cairn seemed agitated, and spoke with hur- 
ried impetuosity, 

" No ! no, not here ! God ! Craven, stop 
them till I get Luli away !" 

He tried to drag her back, and the wo- 
men clustered round her, thinking for the 
moment chiefly of her. But the gentle, 
yielding, delicate Luli they had all known 
till now, was gone. The girl was trans- 


formed. It was a creature witli the 
strength and fury of a Pythoness who 
struggled in their arms. And in that 
moment a strange likeness to Glencairn 
came over her. Like his was the dan- 
gerous gleam of her eye — like his the almost 
savage passion and resolution of her look. 
With all the wild force of her father's 
nature, she struggled and wrested herself 
free ; and, sudden and irresistible as a 
pantheress who sees her cubs slain, she 
tore her way past all who would have in- 
tercepted her, to the men who were enter- 
ing — to the silent burden they bore. It 
lay on a shutter ; some one had flung a 
large cloak over it — li! — what had been 
Duke Mayburne a few hours before ! 

Above the lamentations of the women 
and the sympathetic murmurs of the men, 


arose a piercing sliriek from Zora's lips. 
She fell into Kate's arms in a wild hysteri- 
cal paroxysm ; while Lnli, silently strug- 
gling from Glencairn's witholding hand — 
for he of course had followed and attempted 
to draw her back — seized the cloak, lifted 
it, and looked upon her lover's face.